Where can I learn about new faculty needs?

Given that success through the tenure process is challenging and stressful, it is not surprising that a number of books have been published that address these difficulties and give advice. Not all of that advice is necessarily sound! We made considerable use of the book by Robert Boice Advice for New Faculty Members (Allyn & Bacon, 2000) when we first constructed our faculty mentoring program and it is still our first choice reference. Boice's advice is research based (both his own and others) and has been tested through a variety of faculty development programs at a number of institutions.

Another research-based resource we have consulted comes out of the COACHE surveys produced by a consortium organized by the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Catherine Trower has produced a nice book that summarizes these results:Success on the Tenure Track (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2012).

Both of these works focus on the success of tenure-track faculty, and while many of the needs are the same, term faculty have different demands on them, as do part-time/adjunct/contingent faculty. Our mentoring program is unusual in the attention we give to our term faculty, which is why we are studying this and publishing on the topic.

Our studies

We find there are many reasons to invest time to support all faculty in their transitions to Grinnell. First, it is the right and humane thing to do! But even beyond that, a successful transition for these faculty means better experiences for our students. Additionally, job satisfaction is not something that happens in isolation; faculty interact with one another, so it is valuable for tenure-track faculty success to have productive and satisfied term faculty. And finally, term faculty will go on to other institutions, and we want them to carry good messages about Grinnell.

We have presented at a variety of national and regional meetings about our program, and our studies of what elements of our program are effective. Here is a link to the paper that we presented at the Mentoring Institute annual meeting in 2014, and the paper we presented at the same meeting in 2015.