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“The Spaghetti Factor” – A Peer Leadership Model For The “Sticking Together” Of Untenured Faculty Prior To Their Tenure Decision

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Faculty Development II

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1486.1 - 10.1486.9



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Paper Authors

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Amy Miller

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Maher Murad

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Robert Martinazzi

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Andrew Rose

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1475

“The Spaghetti Factor” – A Peer Leadership Model for the “Sticking Together” of Untenured Faculty Prior to Their Tenure Decision Andrew T. Rose, Amy L. Miller, Maher Murad, Robert Martinazzi University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Abstract New faculty members join academia with great desire and hope to make higher education their life long vocation. Upon entering the halls of ivy, they quickly realize the mutual requirements of professional development, teaching excellence and community/university service. The pressures and challenges of meeting the various expectations can easily leave new faculty overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety, frustration, and even a sense of inadequacy in their area of expertise. These sentiments coupled with the unrelenting demands on all faculty lead to a sense of isolation and abandonment within the academic community.

“The Spaghetti Factor”, is a peer leadership model that is being successfully implemented at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. It serves to address the multitude of concerns and questions of new faculty members. It accomplishes this primarily with peer mentoring by “senior” untenured faculty who are near the tenure decision time in their academic career. By working together through this mentoring, new faculty are able to “stick together” in such a way that everyone is on track to achieve tenure in a more efficient and satisfying way than working at it individually with no interaction.

Introduction When new faculty members are hired and enter the tenure process, their success or failure depends on a number of factors. Several of the most important factors include their personal motivation and attitude toward the requirements of a career in academia, the promotion and tenure philosophy at their institution, and the support of and interaction with colleagues they will be working with. At the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ) a peer leadership model has been used to create an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration between the untenured engineering technology faculty members to assist each other through the tenure process.

An undergraduate teaching college of the University of Pittsburgh, UPJ offers four-year degrees in Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Technology. Due to recent retirements and personnel changes, the Division of Engineering Technology currently has six faculty members in the tenure stream, representing 43% of the faculty. Of these six, four have three years or less service. In addition, it has been close to 15 years since a current member of the tenured faculty has been through the tenure process. As at most institutions, the mechanics of the tenure process have not changed considerably, but the requirements and expectations have. Thus, it has been difficult for the tenured faculty to truly mentor the new faculty through all aspects of the tenure process. As a result,

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Miller, A., & Murad, M., & Martinazzi, R., & Rose, A. (2005, June), “The Spaghetti Factor” – A Peer Leadership Model For The “Sticking Together” Of Untenured Faculty Prior To Their Tenure Decision Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14784

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