Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

First Advisor

Leigh D’Amico

Abstract

The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine the perceptions and needs of first-year/early-career faculty (FYECF) as they interact with a College of Education’s Assessment and Accreditation Office in the work that is vital in the continuous improvement and accreditation of their programs to determine potential ways to streamline this work within the office and engage faculty in these practices earlier in their careers. Six research questions guided this work: (1) What are the responsibilities given to FYECF and what level of support are they receiving for each of these duties? (2) What is the engagement level of FYECF in assessment and accreditation and overall understanding of these areas? (3) What are the potential effects of FYECF being more involved in assessment and accreditation work at the beginning of their faculty careers? (4) What are the most effective ways to engage and support FYECF in activities and requirements to support national accreditation and continuous quality improvement efforts? (5) How can OAA leadership and program/departmental leadership best support FYECF in these areas? (6) How could the implementation of a technology-driven task management system influence FYECF’s task quality and completion?

Participants included six early career faculty within their first 3 years in higher education who participated in the study over the course of 6 weeks. Qualitative data sources included an open-response survey, focus group, and semi-structured interviews. Coding resulted in three broad themes: importance of understanding accreditation processes, impact of support for FYECF, and seeing the “big picture.” Faculty were interested in being exposed to assessment and accreditation practices early in their careers in ways that allow for socialization and multi-platform training opportunities, with the support of formal mentors and OAA leadership. Action steps moving forward center on proactive OAA leadership in exposing faculty to the office’s work once they are hired, becoming part of a formal mentoring process for clinical and adjunct faculty, and piloting a technology-based task management system with embedded trainings.

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