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Preparing Future Faculty and Multiple Forms of Scholarship

Tomorrow's Academic Careers

Message Number: 
737

Will institutions support and reward multiple forms of scholarship if the new faculty come with such expectations and capacities? This, I fear, is the crux of the matter, and the jury is still deliberating. My impression is that there are crosscurrents but no clear trends. For example, I know of several research universities that point proudly to faculty members who gained tenure based not on their research but on their teaching or technological prowess, but those individuals are still few in number. On the other hand, some liberal arts colleges have raised the bar for research in order to get tenure. And leaders at a comprehensive university I visited that had recently done a great deal of new hiring were enthusiastic about their ability to recruit researchers from top-rated departments, but when they launched a review of their undergraduate general education program, they realized that the new faculty were neither prepared to help nor interested.

" Will institutions support and reward multiple forms of scholarship if the new faculty come with such expectations and capacities? This, I fear, is the crux of the matter, and the jury is still deliberating. My impression is that there are crosscurrents but no clear trends. For example, I know of several research universities that point proudly to faculty members who gained tenure based not on their research but on their teaching or technological prowess, but those individuals are still few in number. On the other hand, some liberal arts colleges have raised the bar for research in order to get tenure. And leaders at a comprehensive university I visited that had recently done a great deal of new hiring were enthusiastic about their ability to recruit researchers from top-rated departments, but when they launched a review of their undergraduate general education program, they realized that the new faculty were neither prepared to help nor interested. "

Tomorrow's Professor Msg.#737 Preparing Future Faculty and Multiple Forms of Scholarship

 

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Folks:

The posting below looks at the state of Preparing Future Faculty programs. It is from Preparing Future Faculty and Multiple Forms of Scholarship by Jerry G. Gaff in Faculty Priorities Reconsidered, Rewarding Multiple Forms of Scholarship, by KerryAnn O'Meara and R. Eugene Rice. Published by Jossey-Bass. A Wiley Imprint 989 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103-1741[ www,josseybass.com]. Copyright ?2005 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Regards,

Rick Reis

reis@stanford.edu

UP NEXT: THE NEXT POSTING WILL APPEAR ON SEPTEMBER 5, 2006.

Tomorrow's Academic Careers

 

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Preparing Future Faculty and Multiple Forms of Scholarship Jerry G. Gaff

 

The Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program was launched more than a decade ago to develop alternative doctoral programs for preparing graduate students to do the kind of work expected of faculty at most colleges and universities, namely, to teach and advise students; conduct and evaluate research; and perform service to the department, institution, and community (Gaff, Pruitt-Logan, & Weibl, 2000). More than 4,000 doctoral students participated in PFF, a collaboration between the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Council of Graduate Schools, before the program ended in 2002, after a decade of fruitful work. Two grants from the Pew Charitable Trusts supported creation of campuswide PFF programs at 23 doctoral-producing universities; grants from the National Science Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies supported partnering with 11 disciplinary societies in the natural sciences, and humanities (Gaff, Pruitt-Logan, Sims, & Denecke, 2003). Each society awarded grants to departments in its discipline to develop model PFF programs and highlighted the work of PFF in its meetings, publications, and other activities, as leaders advocated these new approaches. Through these programs, 44 departments established PFF programs, each of which included a cluster of diverse institutions. (For more information, see www.preparing-faculty.org.)

A central feature of PFF programs was that they brought together the "producers" of doctorates (about 150 research universities) with the "consumers" (the approximately 3,500 colleges and universities that hire new faculty), which have quite different missions, student bodies, and expectations for faculty. Thus, each PFF program involved a "cluster" of institutions with diverse missions, such as private liberal arts college, a public comprehensive university, and a community college. Faculty members and administrators from the "partner institutions" and their colleagues in graduate education discussed what they needed in new faculty, and the answers always included effective teaching and the ability to work well with the kinds of students they enrolled. The partner institutions gave graduate students as opportunity to work with a "teaching mentor" and to teach part of a course, attend faculty or committee meetings, meet with undergraduate students-and then to reflect on the meaning of these experiences. In short, doctoral students learned to teach, gain perspectives on faculty life, and envision careers in institutions other than research universities.

The cumulative experience and assessments of PFF programs have been very positive (Pruitt-Logan, Gaff, & Jentoft, 2002). Almost all participants queried have responded that they would recommend PFF to others. Graduate students and alumni have cited a number of benefits, such as learning to teach diverse students, understanding faculty roles in different institutions, and deciding on a career and finding a position that is a "good fit" with their goals. Most credit involvement in PFF as a key factor in securing their first faculty position.

>From the outset, PFF was intertwined with the initiative to promote multiple forms of scholarship. R. Eugene Rice served on the original advisory committee that oversaw the launch of PFF, and he made presentations on the broader definitions of scholarship and changing roles of faculty members to enthusiastic graduate students and faculty members as the early working conferences. Leaders as PFF clusters frequently included ideas about multiple forms of scholarship in their new programs.

In my experience, innovative faculty members are drawn to and make good use of a variety of innovations in their academic work. So it was no surprise that PFF was cross-fertilized with the initiative that is the subject of this book. Every PFF program emphasized the scholarship of teaching and learning, whether or not it was called that. Some PFF programs included courses on general aspects of teaching and learning, such as setting learning goals, designing a course, choosing instructional methods that engage students, creating an inclusive climate, understanding student learning styles and developmental stages, and assessment and grading. Other programs included courses focused on teaching in a discipline. These discipline-specific courses also included discussion of how to deal with common challenges in teaching a particular subject.

Some programs also offered an opportunity to teach with supervision and feedback, be mentored by a faculty member, and prepare a teaching portfolio. An alumna of the PFF program at Duke University spoke for many when she said, "My participation in PFF broadened my education at Duke beyond focused lab experiments and classes by providing a forum to discuss education beyond basic research. PFF enabled me to cultivate skills that may not have developed within the framework of the traditional graduate school experience."

Of course, research is central to any doctoral program, and PFF students gained opportunities to observe the kinds of research done at the various institutions in their clusters. For example, they discovered the undergraduates were frequently involved in research, that some faculty studied community problems and tried to find solutions, and that others derived satisfaction from connecting ideas across fields in interdisciplinary research and teaching. In short, PFF students saw for themselves that faculty members were engaging in multiple forms of scholarship and finding satisfaction in doing so. Let me end by reflecting on four questions:

1. How does the new generation of faculty react to multiple forms of scholarship? My impression is that the "new" generation is more similar to the "old" than different. Yes, it has more women, and faces some difficult working conditions, including fewer tenure-track jobs, higher expectations for success, and more limited resources. But as with previous generations, individuals are eager to learn about the profession they seek to enter, want to determine where they might best "fit", and are ready to do all they can to prepare themselves. Like many current faculty members, future faculty have wide-ranging intellectual interests, and their agile minds are uncomfortable about limiting their curiosity to micro-specializations and research agendas defined by old-fashioned ideas about the scholarship of discovery. Many are excited about seeing their interests in the scholarship of engagement, integration, and teaching validated.

2. How did PFF and multiple forms of scholarship affect individuals from underrepresented groups? Anecdotal evidence suggests that both were more congenial to underrepresented groups than traditional approaches. For example, Julio Rojas, a psychology graduate student as the University of Georgia, was not attracted to a career in the academy, which he thought was primarily concerned with intellectual abstractions far removed from his community. He wanted to find a career enabling him to "give back" to his community, as many Hispanic and other minorities do. His professors encouraged him to participate in PFF, where he learned that through service-learning and community-based learning he could advance both good education and community development. To cite another example, in 2002, the Howard University mathematics department awarded four doctorates to African American women, two of whom had been directly involved in PFF. During the previous year, only six such degrees were awarded to African American women in the entire country. Further, nearly all PFF programs included components on teaching for an inclusive classroom. Both PFF and broader definitions of scholarship seem to have been more encouraging of and attractive to minority students.

3. How can the concept of multiple forms of scholarship further penetrate the academy? One of the best ways is to include it in doctoral programs that prepare future faculty. When graduate students are forming their ideas about research and scholarship and developing their professional identities, it is important that they take a broad view of scholarship. They must see the intellectual value of connecting to real-world problems, and gathering theoretical insight from practice. They should also learn about the mysteries of communicating their specialty to nonspecialists, which is to say, to teach the subject so that others can learn. And they should understand the range of scholarship that can lead to discoveries and can be done with the constraints of different kinds of institutions. By understanding the breadth of the intellectual terrain, graduate students can find their own niche, where they can contribute to teaching and research and derive satisfaction in their own careers.

4. Will institutions support and reward multiple forms of scholarship if the new faculty come with such expectations and capacities? This, I fear, is the crux of the matter, and the jury is still deliberating. My impression is that there are crosscurrents but no clear trends. For example, I know of several research universities that point proudly to faculty members who gained tenure based not on their research but on their teaching or technological prowess, but those individuals are still few in number. On the other hand, some liberal arts colleges have raised the bar for research in order to get tenure. And leaders at a comprehensive university I visited that had recently done a great deal of new hiring were enthusiastic about their ability to recruit researchers from top-rated departments, but when they launched a review of their undergraduate general education program, they realized that the new faculty were neither prepared to help nor interested.

Both faculty and administrations are responsible for the systems to support and reward faculty, and either or both can be swept away with visions of research and publications glory defined in old and narrow terms. Conditions can change with the appearance of a new president, a new provost, or a new strategic plan.

We can only hope that the current generation of academic leaders will find the wisdom and courage to forge support and reward systems that provide incentives for faculty members to pursue their ideas, wherever they may lead. If they do, we can be optimistic that the next generation of professors will be able to learn about the breadth and complexity of modern scholarship in their formative years, so that they can contribute to multiple forms of scholarship and gain satisfaction in doing so throughout their academic careers. But I fear that success will come only because academic leaders create a more effective reward structure, one institution at a time. This promises to be a long, hard process. We have no time to delay.

References

Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Diamond, R. M. (2002). Field guide to academic leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Gaff, J. G., Pruitt-Logan, A. S., Sims, L., & Denecke, D. (2003). Preparing future faculty in the social sciences and humanities. Washington, DC: Council of Graduate Schools and Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Gaff, J. G., Pruitt-Logan, A. S., & Weibl, R. (2000). Building the faculty we need: Colleges and universities working together. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities and ouncil of Graduate Schools.

Glassick, C.E., Huber, M. T., & Maeroff, G. I (1997). Scholarship assessed: Evaluation of the professoriate. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Pruitt-Logan, A. S., Gaff, J. G., & Jentoft, J. E. (2002). Preparing future faculty in the sciences and mathematics. Washington, DC: Council of Graduate Schools and Association of American Colleges and Universities.