Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Academic Leadership

How to Rid Your Meetings of Groupthink

With the spate of books and articles that deal with the issue of incivility in higher education, it’s easy to conclude that destructive disharmony is the single biggest problem facing colleges and universities today. To be sure, lack of collegiality has become a significant challenge, and nearly every academic leader can recall at least one department or college that became increasingly dysfunctional because of its inability to work together in a mutually supportive manner. But the great deal of attention we pay to the challenges of incivility can cause us to underestimate the dangers of an opposing threat that also exists in many academic units: groupthink.

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Recognizing the Importance of Student Engagement

Institutions are beginning to create jobs that recognize by name the importance of student engagement in and out of the classroom. These positions are based on the idea that students who contribute actively to their learning environments—through experiences such as learning communities, service-learning, first-year seminars, and undergraduate research—are more likely to succeed in college.

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Faculty Hiring: Guidelines for Promoting Diversity

There are many reasons for wishing to increase the diversity of your faculty. They include improving recruitment and retention, raising student engagement, increasing innovation, building stronger communities and helping to prepare tomorrow’s leaders and citizens.

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Improve Your Decision-Making Skills

As an academic leader, each decision you make has the potential to have a lasting impact within your unit and beyond. Competing viewpoints, priorities and strong personalities contribute to the difficulty many leaders have with making decisions.

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Beware of Faculty Promotion and Tenure Pitfalls

Controversies surrounding promotion and tenure can lead to legal trouble for departments and institutions. It’s up to academic leaders to guard against possible pitfalls by adopting, disseminating, and implementing equitable policies.

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Changing Roles, Improved Conditions for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty

As institutions increase their reliance on part-time and non-tenure-track faculty, the issues of equity and instructional quality take on more importance. One way to address these issues is to integrate non-tenure-track faculty into the culture of the department and institution. In this article, we highlight how the composition program in the English department at Appalachian State University is making this cultural change.

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Dealing with Problem Faculty in Seven Not-So-Easy Steps

Much attention has been given to the “difficult” or “disruptive” student, and rightly so. However, colleges and universities aren’t just institutions of learning, they’re workplaces as well. And like any workplace, there are colleagues who are a joy to work with, and there are colleagues who can poison an entire department.

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Interviewing Strategies for Hiring New Faculty

The stakes are high when hiring a new faculty member who can teach, publish, and serve your institution. Since most vitae make the candidates sound wonderful, is there a way to ensure that the strongest candidates get hired? Long used in the business world, behavior-based interviewing (BBI) aids in the selection of new faculty who can perform their tasks.

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When Internal Candidates Apply for a Position

Any process that involves the hiring of a new member of the faculty or staff has to be taken very seriously. Yet when a search involves an incumbent (i.e., someone who currently occupies the position for which you are searching and who will be replaced by the person you hire) or an internal candidate (i.e., an applicant who is already employed by the institution, but in a different capacity), the complexity of the process increases exponentially. For this reason, there are several guidelines that should always be followed.

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Valuing and Rewarding Academic Advising

The literature has made us aware of the importance of a student’s connection with a faculty member, advisor, or other significant adult and its impact on academic success and retention of students. For first-generation students, this can be especially critical, as they require assistance not only in what to take and why, but also how to understand and negotiate this new and overwhelming environment. Universities employ a variety of methods and people to attempt to ensure that this connection be established and maintained. Advisors often fulfill this role for students in their first year in higher education.

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