Micropolitical and Identity Challenges Influencing New Faculty Participation in Teacher Education Reform: When Will We Learn?
by Diane Yendol-Hoppey, David Hoppey, Aimee Morewood, Sharon B. Hayes & Meadow Sherrill Graham - 2013
Background/Context: Teacher education faculty face increasing pressure to simultaneously strengthen and reform teacher education programs while maintaining research productivity. The demands placed on teacher education programs to increase relevancy by strengthening clinical components of teacher preparation has once again reached the fore. The energy for this reform often rests on the shoulders of tenure-earning faculty who have developed as Engaged Scholars during their doctoral preparation and wish to continue this work as they enter the professoriate.
Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: This article investigates and describes the experiences of new, tenure-earning faculty who sought working conditions that would support their involvement in reform oriented, clinically rich teacher education, and Engaged Scholarship.
Population/Participants/Subjects: This is a qualitative study with seven participants who worked as assistant professors across four different research-intensive state universities. Each university has a history of involvement in either the Holmes Partnership or the National Network for Educational Renewal, organizations that target integrating faculty members into partnership schools making this a part of their teacher education work.
Research Design: This qualitative self-study, guided by a constructivist epistemology, seeks to understand tenure-earning faculties’ experiences as they enter the professoriate. This study makes use of interpretivism as a theoretical perspective.
Data Collection and Analysis: This research uses focus group transcripts as the primary data source. Additional data sources include program artifacts such as meeting agendas and minutes, blog entries, and field notes that were used during the four taped focus groups to generate discussion related to research questions.
Findings/Results: The study describes six challenges faced by new faculty who assume leadership in clinically rich teacher education reform, and identifies faculty identity and micro-political concerns as central to navigating challenges. These challenges include: (a) complications associated with negotiating workload, (b) entrée to schools, (c) negotiating roles, (d) negotiating Internal Review Boards and school district research policies, (e) influencing promotion and tenure policies, and (f) facilitating pockets of program renewal and innovation.
Conclusions/Recommendations: This study suggests that while doctoral programs are now preparing new faculty who embrace clinically rich teacher preparation, they do not receive adequate support as they enter academia. Discussed are three assertions that must be resolved by university, college, and department leadership, as well as tenured colleagues, to support new faculty involvement in developing clinically rich teacher education reform.
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