Faculty Role In Higher Education In Nursing

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Historical Perspective of Faculty Role in Higher Education

Faculty Role In Higher Education In Nursing

Developmental Phases of Faculty Perspectives In Nursing Education, Evaluation as of Teaching Strategies In Nursing Education, Responsibility of Faculty In Nursing Education.

Developmental Phases of Faculty Perspectives In Nursing Education

    The role of the faculty member in academia has developed over time as the role of higher education in America has evolved. Three phases of overlapping development can be identified in the history of American higher education (Boyer, 1990).

    The first phase of development occurred during colonial times. Heavily influenced by British tradition, the role of faculty in the colonial college was a singular one: that of teaching. The educational system “was expected to educate and morally uplift the coming Generation” (Boyer, 1990, p. 4).

    Teaching was considered an honored vocation with the intended purpose of developing student character and preparing students for leadership in civic and religious roles. This focus on teaching as the central mission of the university continued well into the nineteenth century.

    Gradually, the focus of education began to shift from development of the individual to development of a nation, signaling the beginning of the second phase of development within higher education.

    Legislation such as the Morrill Act of 1862 and the Hatch Act of 1887 helped create public expectations that added the responsibility of service to the traditional faculty role of teaching. This legislation provided each state with land and funding to support the education of leaders for agriculture and industry.

    Universities and colleges accepted the mission to educate for the common good (Boyer, 1990). Educational systems were expected to provide service to the states, businesses, and industries.

    In the 1870s the first formal schools of nursing began to appear in the United States. Diploma nursing programs were established in hospitals to help meet the service needs of the hospitals.

    Nursing faculty were expected to provide service to the institution and to teach new nurses along the way. Nursing students were expected to learn while they helped staff the hospitals.

    In the mid nineteenth century, a commitment to the development of science began in many universities on the East Coast (Boyer, 1990), thus beginning the third phase of development in higher education.

    Scholarship through research was added as an expectation to the role of faculty. This emphasis on research was greatly enhanced in later years by federal support for academic research that began during World War II and continued after the war.

    Gradually, as expectations for faculty to seek funding for and to conduct research spread throughout institutions across the nation, teaching and service began to be viewed with less importance as a measurement tool for academic prestige and productivity within institutions.

    Faculty found it increasingly difficult to achieve tenure without a record of funded research and publication, despite accomplishments in teaching and service. As nursing education entered the university setting, nursing faculty began to be held to the same standards of research productivity as faculty in other more traditionally academy-based disciplines.

    It is important to understand that, while the emphasis on research continues, institutions vary greatly in this regard based on their missions and strategic plans.

    Potential faculty should seek opportunities in nursing education in institutions whose missions fit their interests and credentials. Future of Faculty Role in Higher Education A rapidly changing political environment and health care reform are now having a dramatic effect on the role of nursing faculty.

    Diminishing resources, increasing public scrutiny, and heightened expectations place a heavy burden on faculty in higher education. Changes in health care brought on by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010) require that nursing curricula be updated to ensure that nursing graduates achieve competencies needed for the future.

    There is increasing emphasis on the teaching role of faculty without a concomitant reduction in scholarly requirements. Nursing faculty are also responsible to assess the outcomes of the educational process. The balance between teaching, research, and service is being reexamined in many institutions for its congruence with the Institution's mission.

Evaluation as of Teaching Strategies In Nursing Education

    A revolution in teaching strategies is also happening as universities and colleges change the focus from teaching to learning. Sole reliance on the use of lecture is no longer an accepted teaching method. Faculty integrate the use of technology into their teaching and promote the active involvement of students in the learning process.

    Computer mediated courses and the use of simulation technology are the future of higher education, as movement is made away from the structured classroom to the much larger learning environments of the home, community, and clinical setting.

    Because today's students, with their complex lives, demand convenience and flexibility in their educational endeavors, distance education strategies play an increasingly important role in the education of learners.

    Furthermore, the future of nursing care delivery will be changing to a community based, consumer-driven system. The shift in emphasis from acute care to an enhanced role for primary care must have an effect on the undergraduate and graduate nursing curricula.

    There is also a continuing gap in the representation of minorities in nursing education programs, with the percentage holding at 10% for decades. There is a need to expand the number of nursing graduates from underrepresented populations.

    Even with this emphasis on minority nurse recruitment, all nurses must increase their cultural competence skills to meet the needs of growing underserved populations as the United States minority population continues to grow.

    The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2010) reports that there is a growing need for increased numbers of nurses prepared at the doctoral level, not only to teach but also to collect and analyze data necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of health care and to identify trends of future development.

    The clinical movement toward advanced practice nurses holding the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree creates an overwhelming need for nurses prepared with a doctorate. The majority of nursing programs (61.4%) reported not being able to accept more students because of the need for qualified faculty, with the programs predicting a growing need.

    All of these issues place nursing faculty at the heart of the nursing shortage. Faculty Rights and Responsibilities in Academia. The professoriate in the United States has traditionally enjoyed a number of rights, including the right to self-governance within the university setting.

    Governance includes participation on department and university committees focusing on academic and workplace issues of concern to faculty such as faculty affairs, student affairs, curriculum and program evaluation, and providing consultation to administrators. Faculty, in cooperation with administrators, share in addressing issues that face the university and the community it serves.

    Faculty are evaluated as “university citizens,” in part, on their service on committees or task forces at the department, school, or university level. Leadership in national nursing organizations is also a component of the service expectation.

    As constituents place more and more expectations on faculty for productivity, faculty governance is not as highly valued by those outside of academia (Plater, 1995). Methods must be instituted to maintain the participation of faculty in governance while allowing for less of a time commitment.

Responsibility of Faculty In Nursing Education

    The core responsibility of faculty is the teaching and learning that takes place in the institution. Boards and administrator's delegate decisions about most aspects of the teaching learning process to faculty.

    This responsibility includes not only the delivery of content but also curriculum development and evaluation, development of student evaluation methods, and graduation requirements. (Trower & Gitenstein, 2013).

    Intellectual property, copyright, and fair-use laws govern faculty and student use of works developed by faculty, students, and others. The easy online access of course content has added to this complicated issue by making plagiarism more common and easily revealed with the use of software.

    Most academic settings have policies that guide the development of “works for hire,” which may include course content, written works, and products. Many universities now enter into ownership agreements, with some financial division of any profits related to works developed by faculty.

    A wise faculty member is well informed about these institutional policies so that there is no misunderstanding about ownership of course materials and other works developed by the faculty member.

    Evaluation is a major responsibility of faculty. Faculty engage in the evaluation of students and of colleagues. Peer evaluation is a vital aspect of faculty development and is part of the documentation data considered in the decision making process for promotion and tenure.

    Tenured faculty are involved in the development of fair and equitable evaluation criteria on which to base these judgments. Another responsibility of faculty is mentoring. Nursing faculty mentor not only nursing students but also other faculty members in their development as teachers and scholars.

    The mentoring of students includes formal academic advisement as well as coaching, supporting, and guiding protégés through the academic system and into their professional careers. 

    The mentoring of faculty members also involves coaching, supporting, and guiding as they develop in their role as faculty (Jacobson & Sherrod, 2012). When starting at a new institution, even an experienced faculty member requires mentoring relative to specific institutional norms.

    Providing mentoring to new faculty members is an especially important responsibility of senior faculty, because nurses are not usually prepared in graduate nursing programs for a role in academia. Faculty are dropped into an environment with unspoken rules and expectations that can be markedly different from those of their previous practice environment.

    Faculty know the role of the student from experience but have only seen the faculty role from a distance. Mentoring is needed to assist new faculty members as they learn to balance all aspects of their complex role.

    The responsibilities of nursing faculty include teaching and scholarship, as well as service to the school, university, community, and the profession of nursing. Nursing faculty have the responsibility to expand their service beyond the university and local community to include active leadership in professional nursing organizations at local, regional, and national levels where they often influence national public policy agendas.

    As a faculty member climbs the promotion and tenure ladder, service responsibilities increase and leadership at the national and international levels is required. In a recent study, Young,

    Stiles, Nelson, & Horton Deutsch (2011) found that most nurse leaders had stumbled into leadership without seeking such responsibilities and often felt unprepared. Their own way of being acting as advocates, speaking their truths, and building consensus put them into positions where others sought their leadership and they responded to those needs.

    True success as a faculty member is measured by the person's ability to juggle all aspects of the faculty role teaching, research, and service. Most institutions require a tenure candidate to declare one “area of excellence” on which their tenure will focus.

    It is important that faculty choose this area carefully and early in their tenure track. With careful planning and selection of activities, nursing faculty can integrate their clinical interests into teaching, scholarship and service, thus meeting the expectations of the role in the most efficient manner.

    On initial appointment to a faculty position, the faculty member will be well served by the development of a 5- to 6-year career plan designed to ensure that the candidate will meet the criteria for all aspects of the role. Some faculty work in an environment where they are represented by a union.

    The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is probably the best known faculty union. Faculty can also be members of AAUP, as a professional organization, without belonging to a union. In a setting that has a union, faculty rights and responsibilities are affected by the negotiated contract.

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