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Recommendations from Phase I of this study encouraged institutions of higher education to “support formal mentoring programs for newly hired assistant professors-mentoring programs that would help to provide a smooth transition into academia by assisting the new professor in learning and acclimating to the culture and expectations of a tenure track position in higher education. (Marshall et al., 2010). It was pointed out that mentoring programs can assist tenure track newcomers with research and collaborations, and give the newcomer a successful veteran or peer for emotional, as well as intellectual, support during their transition from public school administration to college professor.

Phase ii methodology

The second phase of this two part research study was a qualitative design. Participants from the first phase of the survey study indicated whether they would be willing to participate in the second phase of the study. There were 21 volunteers from the initial survey who consented to interviews. Nine were selected for this second phase. The participants were all previous PK-12 administrators either principals or superintendents who had transitioned to higher education. All of the participants held tenure-track positions in higher education. The participants were from three states, Illinois, Iowa, and Texas. The researchers have also transitioned from PK-12 administration to tenure track positions in higher education. Two of the researchers are assistant professors and one researcher has obtained promotion and tenure. This study was designed as qualitative research with in-depth interviewing conducted one-on-one. A qualitative design was chosen as the best method because the researchers wanted to understand the experiences of the participants and determine what issues were faced by participants as well as to understand their perspectives on the knowledge needed for successful transition and mentoring programs that might assist in the transition (Denzin&Lincoln, 2005; McCracken, 1988). Standard interview questions were used to guide the interview since three different researchers were conducting the interviews (see Appendix A). The questions were developed from the review of literature and the first phase of the study. The questions were meant to be broad and allow for the participants to guide the discussion. The one-on-one interviews were audio-taped and later transcribed. Each researcher read the transcriptions to identify common themes (Strauss&Corbin, 1998). Each researcher added themes which led to inter-coder reliability and validity checking for each researcher. The themes were identified and supported with the quotes from the participants.

Phase ii: findings

There were several themes that developed from the in-depth interviews with educational leadership tenure track professors who had transitioned from PK-12 administration. These themes included smooth transitions, emphasize research followed by teaching, understand the expectations for tenure and promotion, understand the culture in the department and the organization, job satisfaction, mentorship, and service.

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Source:  OpenStax, Education leadership review special issue: portland conference, volume 12, number 3 (october 2011). OpenStax CNX. Oct 17, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11362/1.5
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