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Service . Several respondents discussed the variety of roles and duties they were assigned or chose that addressed service. The largest number of responses for service was the duties performed on university committees, followed by internship directing and program coordinator. One respondent encouraged staying connected with the PK-12 schools in order to keep relevant with the teaching at the university as he stated, “I still attend a division meeting… And we really need to stay connected with what’s going because it’s so easy to lag behind.” Another respondent expressed concern with the time for service but found it to be his most satisfying, “I am favorably satisfied. I care a lot about people and helping out in the schools. The service is where I have to push away. It makes my day. It makes me feel I am playing a positive role.” Another found the service easy to find,

It is important to immerse yourself into the university environment. I attended musicals, staff development, and community events. I also joined the university woman’s group. That helps my service as the group did fund-raising for Ronald McDonald house and other projects like a dorm project. I had no trouble getting on committees because of this organization. You volunteer for things at the university.

A fourth respondent compared his service at the university to PK-12 administration as a superintendent, “As for service, I served on a lot of committees in both positions. At the university, I was given plenty of service. It was easy to find. I was asked to be on committees and never said no.”

Summary and recommendations

Two years of surveying and interviewing PK-12 administrators across three states who have transitioned to the world of tenure-track academe and gathering their recommendations for those considering the career change has garnered consistent results regarding mentoring, the impact of mentoring on their transitions and recommendations from “lessons learned.” Usually when mentors were available, they made the transition easier, and administrators thinking of entering the professorate as a second career can start early to prepare themselves for a smooth transition if they are able to connect even informally with a potential mentor in higher education while they are still working in the world of PK-12 education. This can be done by seeking opportunities to co-author with a current higher education faculty member, offer to present to administrator preparation classes and pursue opportunities to serve as adjunct faculty to teach courses or supervise internship experiences.

Major themes that have been derived from these two studies are:

  1. A “smooth transition” is important for future success in meeting the expectations to acquire tenure in higher education. This means that one must plan for the transition from PK-12 to higher education.
  2. Research and publishing usually comes before teaching in higher education and thus aspiring practitioners who enter higher education need to work on improving their research and writing skills.
  3. One must seek out clarification from the department, college and university when it comes to the expectations that must be met to receive tenure, promotion, and continued employment.
  4. Understanding the issue of “Time” in higher education. Many see things moving at a slower pace, however the need to understand how to schedule your own time and completing projects when no one is really setting timelines for you.
  5. Understanding the “Pecking Order” of one’s department, college and university in order to know how to get things done.
  6. Job satisfaction is usually determined by a new faculty member’s intrinsic motivation concerning a career in higher education.
  7. Mentorship is important to help to understand the university culture. Whether formal or informal, having a mentor will assist new faculty members to meet the expectations that must be met to gain tenure and promotion.
  8. Service can come in many forms and is an important part of the process. Service opportunities can come from appointments and through volunteer opportunities.

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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