Navigating Pathways for Academic Staff Development: Implications for Institutions and Academic Ranks

Wageeh Boles, Andrea Goncher

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

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Abstract

BACKGROUND As engineering schools adopt outcomes-focused learning approaches in response to government expectations and industry requirements of graduates capable of learning and applying knowledge in different contexts, university academics must be capable of developing and delivering programs that meet these requirements. Those academics are increasingly facing challenges in progressing their research and also acquiring different skill sets to meet the learning and teaching requirements. PURPOSE The goal of this study was to identify the types of development and support structures in place for academic staff, especially early career ones, and examine how the type of institution and the rank or role of the staff member affects these structures. DESIGN/METHOD We conducted semi-structured interviews with 21 individuals in a range of positions pertaining to teaching and learning in engineering education. Open coding was used to identify main themes from the guiding questions raised in the interviews and refined to address themes relevant to the development of institutional staff. The interview data was then analysed based on the type of institution and the rank/ role of the participant. RESULTS While development programs that focus on improving teaching and learning are available, the approach on using these types of programs differed based on staff perspective. Fewer academics, regardless of rank/role, had knowledge of support structures related to other areas of scholarship, e.g. disciplinary research, educational research, learning the institutional culture. The type of institution also impacted how they weighted and encouraged multiple forms of scholarship. We found that academic staff holding higher ranking positions, e.g. dean or associate dean, were not only concerned with the success of their respective programs, but also in how to promote other academic staff participation throughout the process. CONCLUSIONS The findings from this study extend the premise that developing effective academic staff ultimately leads to more effective institutions and successful graduates and accomplishing this requires staff buy-in at multiple stages of instructional and program development. Staff and administration developing approaches for educational innovation together (Besterfield-Sacre et al., 2014) and getting buy-in from all academic staff to invest in engineering education development will ultimately lead to more successful engineering graduates.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 25th annual conference of the Australasian Association for engineering education (AAEE 2014)
Place of PublicationBarton, ACT
PublisherMassey University
Pages510-519
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event25th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education: AAEE 2014 - Te Papa Tongarewa National Museum of New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand
Duration: 08 Dec 201410 Dec 2014
http://www.aaee.net.au/index.php/resources/send/7-2014/171-25th-annual-aaee-conference-handbook (Conference handbook)
https://search.informit.com.au/browsePublication;isbn=9780473304287;res=IELENG (published papers)

Conference

Conference25th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education
Abbreviated titleEngineering the Knowledge Economy: Collaboration, Engagement & Employability
CountryNew Zealand
CityWellington
Period08/12/1410/12/14
Internet address

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