In Reinforcing Our “Keystone” Faculty, Baldwin and Chang (2006) wrote:
Mid-career faculty are the keystone of the academic enterprise. They fill essential instructional, program development, administrative, and citizenship roles at their institutions. They form a bridge between faculty generations by mentoring new colleagues and assuming leadership duties as their senior colleagues move toward retirement. Mid-career faculty are key players as their institutions adapt in a time of continuous change. They can be either allies or stubborn opponents as their institutions adjust to competitive pressures, revise programs to meet the needs of increasingly diverse students, and integrate new educational technologies.
A 2013-2014, Mid-Career Professional Development FLC laid the groundwork for a professional development initiative to support faculty in the middle years (post-tenure to promotion to professor) of their academic life. We examined the literature regarding faculty and the mid-career years and found that support often subsides.
We are proposing an FLC to pilot our Mid-Career Faculty Development program with the intent that it become an ongoing faculty development program under the auspices of the LT&ITC. The primary goal of this 2014-2015 FLC is to pilot-test the program elements that the 2013-2014 FLC are proposing for a sustainable Mid-Career Faculty Development Program. These elements include 1) the FLC model as a method for delivering a comprehensive faculty development program and 2) an individualized professional development plan as a strategic blueprint for promotion to Full Professor (discussed below).
1) By the end of the academic year, participants will develop an individual Faculty
Development Plan that includes teaching, research, and service goals for reaching Full
Professor. This should be development in consultation with his/her chair. Members will be
encouraged to share their emerging plans with each other for feedback, accountability, and
2) Participants will work toward a publishable paper as a product of their readings, discussions,
and findings in an effort to better understand mid-career faculty at a large teaching/research
3) A piloted FLC to then be a sustainable faculty development model for Associate Professors in
their process to promotion to pursue Full Professor. This permanent program will then fall
under the auspices of the LT&ITC.
1) Participants will examine and discuss the literature as it relates to mid-career
and write a best practices paper for publication. The topic will depend on what the faculty
think is most relevant to their group (may include an examination of faculty burnout,
motivational practices, flourishing in mid-career, etc.). A familiarity with mid-career faculty
issues will be useful in providing feedback to the 2013-2014 FLC in program development.
2) Participants will discuss institutional issues regarding promotion to Full Professor in an
effort to support one another in overcoming roadblocks, de-motivators, and other factors
that cause faculty to “stop out” of the promotional process. Understanding these issues is
critical in setting personal goals and will be useful in providing feedback to the 2013-2014
FLC in program development.
3) Participants will craft an individualized Faculty Development Plan that outlines his/her
goals for reaching Full Professor.
4) Meet in conjunction with the 2013-2014 FLC to provide program feedback.
5) Work with the 2013-2014 FLC to develop one or more workshops to be used in conjunction
with the proposed program. The workshop(s) could be offered in Fall 2015 when the final
sustainable version of the program kicks off and could address a variety of mid-career issues
(burnout, administrative roles, mentoring, etc.)
All newly tenured and promoted faculty in 2014 are invited to join.
Dr. Tom Brinthaupt has served as Director of Faculty Development for the LT&ITC since 2010. In this position, he has overseen the planning and development of the Center’s workshops and events and worked toward identifying and implementing broader Center goals. He has frequently attended the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) annual meeting, which provides a great many ideas for furthering the faculty development efforts of the Center. In addition, he has developed a faculty development workshop series that focused on time management, creating a faculty development plan, and writing well workshops for faculty members. Over the past two years, the Center has implemented the Faculty Fellows program, as part of the Academy of Teaching Excellence. This program is geared primarily toward new and tenure-track faculty members. Over the past four years, Dr. Brinthaupt has also served as a facilitator of the eLearning Pedagogy and Faculty Development FLCs. He is in a unique position at the Center to facilitate the goals of the proposed Mid-Career Faculty Development Program FLC and to ensure that the newly developed program will be sustainable within the normal functions and operations of the Center.