Examination of Faculty Development in the Departments of Civil & Mechanical Engineering and Geography & Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy
This study is submitted as part of a special joint panel session between the Environmental Engineering Division and the Faculty Development Division on innovative development for tenured/tenure-track faculty and professional faculty. This study presents findings from an institutional-level evaluation of professional faculty development practices. The United States Military Academy (i.e., West Point)’s unique faculty composition consists of professional military faculty, permanent military faculty, and civilian faculty is known as the “blend of excellence”. The majority of West Point faculty (~55%) are military officers serving for a two-to-three-year period. These military faculty are professional faculty members serving in a capacity similar to adjunct faculty or non-tenured teaching faculty at other universities. Each type of faculty member brings unique skills and talents to the faculty team that contribute to the overall development of West Point’s undergraduates who serve as military officers upon graduation. In spring 2019, West Point faculty members were asked to share their thoughts and perspectives on the faculty development of junior civilian (defined as instructors or assistant professors) and rotating military faculty. Areas queried included developmental approaches and best practices, developmental areas (e.g., research, teaching), and defined developmental outcomes. This study subsets responses from two departments, Civil & Mechanical Engineering and Geography & Environmental Engineering, providing a focused examination of faculty development methods applicable and beneficial to civil and environmental engineering programs that have adjunct and/or non-tenure track faculty. Response rates were similar for each department (24% and 34%). The study identified three major findings that are generally applicable to all universities: (1) institutions can benefit from discussion and shared understanding regarding the definition and intent of faculty development; (2) our faculty prefer to handle development of more junior faculty at the department-level while leveraging university-level resources; (3) several distinct practices were most beneficial to professional faculty development, to include: a structured on-boarding program, unstructured mentorship throughout the academic year, and classroom observation with feedback. While West Point is somewhat unique in mission and faculty composition, the finding from this study can be beneficial to all institutions with non-tenure track professional faculty.
Barron, J., & Pfluger, A. R., & Pegues, K. K., & Bazemore, T. (2020, June), Examination of Faculty Development in the Departments of Civil & Mechanical Engineering and Geography & Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34609