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Exploring Motivations of Early Career Faculty Commitment to Community Engagement
Over the past 30 years there has been a call for higher education to reprioritize the civic purposes of the university (Campus Compact, 2012). Community-based teaching and research have emerged as key academic strategies to enhance the student experience and increase the civic mission of higher education (Erlich, 2000; Eyler & Giles, 1999; Stanton, Giles, & Cruz, 1999). While more faculty are encouraged to incorporate community engagement into their work (Colby, Ehrlich, & Stephens, 2003), minimal research focuses on the motivations of early career engaged faculty (O'Meara, 2012). This study explores why early career faculty, in order to fulfill their roles as engaged teachers, scholars, and active community members, are motivated to integrate community engagement into their teaching, research, and outreach. The following research questions guided this qualitative study: Q1: How do early career faculty describe their motivations to include community engagement into their teaching, research, and outreach? Q1a: What do early career faculty perceive as the greatest areas of support for community engagement in their teaching, research, and outreach? Q1b: What do early career faculty perceive as the greatest barriers to include community engagement in their teaching, research, and outreach? This study employed a qualitative, interpretive research design (Patton, 2002). Three sequential phases were utilized: N=6 semi-structured individual expert interviews, N=5 focus groups with N=23 participants involving early career faculty from New England, and N=19 reflective questionnaires administered to focus group participants and additional early career faculty in New England. Purposeful and snowball sampling techniques (Patton, 2002) were used to secure participants through Campus Compact. Data analysis was accomplished using Krueger and Casey's (2009) Classic Approach strategy. Five major themes emerged: 1) The desire to deepen student learning and enhance teaching methods, 2) Responsibility for community impact and community collaboration, 3) Driven by personal identity, values, and 'meaning making', 4) The struggle for work-life balance, and 5) Motivations grounded in unique institutional culture and characteristics. Findings may be used to recruit and hire new engaged faculty, and design future faculty development efforts to increase faculty involvement, satisfaction, and retention at college, universities, and higher education organizations that promote community engagement.
Hertzberg, Carie, "Exploring Motivations of Early Career Faculty Commitment to Community Engagement" (2013). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3561127.