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Smooth transition : The majority of the respondents felt that they had a smooth transition into the professorate. This was seen from several respondents with examples of their respones stating,

My first year I think was a lot smoother than others. This is my first time in higher education. My assumptions are based on that I had deferred duties to make my first year easier. I had one less class and some interns. I also came with two others new to the department. They made sure we didn’t have the tougher classes.

Another respondent stated,

I had a smooth transition due to my mentor who was also my co-chair. She answered all my questions when I came to the university. Actually, my mentor heard about the opening and encouraged me to apply for it. She told me about the job. I wanted to make sure I had credibility since I had been an assistant principal for five years and a principal for two years. We have continued our relationship. She works in another state now. It is nice when you have a friend who has taken you through the process. That is the way I approach people I hire now.

Another typical example showed the respondent’s sense of a smooth transition,

I had a smooth transition. My struggle was getting to the scholarship and research. My knowledge base wasn’t a problem because I had just left the superintendent position recently. So teaching was not a problem. I was always a good teacher so there was no struggle there.

However, one of the respondents found the transition difficult because of unclear expectations and limited written procedures for obtaining tenure. This respondent actually had to fight for the transition in the tenure process because of the lack of clarity in the process. He stated, “I was actually rehired, even though the two committees recommended I not be rehired. The Dean supported me.”

Emphasis on research, followed by teaching . Many of the respondents felt a need to conduct and publish research. One typical response was,

We got new administrators, the bar was raised and expectations for research and scholarship changed, so I knew I needed to do certain things to gain tenure. I began reading and thinking of what interested me. My dissertation was over 20 years old and no longer a research interest of mine. I needed to know the difference between a research agenda and research interests.

Another participant stated, “I taught research courses which led to interesting research topics to explore.” Many participants shared that they had started their publications by co-authoring manuscripts. Some respondents also mentioned that attending conferences helped them network with professors and then write with them on common areas of interest. One participant recommended that candidates have more coursework in research for a successful transition to higher education. Another professor recommended that new faculty set goals for publishing and not to get dejected because of rejections, rather to continue submitting articles. This professor also recommended that writing must be done voraciously while getting to at least 18 in six years. Another respondent stated that there is disconnect between what his institution stated was priority over the actual priority, “I see there is a greater emphasis on what you have published or presented. It seems that one is prioritized, but they say teaching is prioritized.” Another respondent said it was helpful to co-author some articles at first with more experienced faculty members. This helped him to better understand the process and to select topics of interest that were already in demand by publications.

Questions & Answers

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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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