Finding Balance: A Challenge for Untenured Faculty

  •  Katherine O’Connor    
  •  H. Carol Greene    
  •  Amy J. Good    
  •  Guili Zhang    


This study investigated the impact of work overload on untenured faculty (n=38) who teach, research, and serve in the colleges of education at two research intensive universities in the United States. Both of these colleges of education are moving toward a research focus. The transition has created an overload situation by establishing high research expectations while continuing to expect a high teaching load. Thus, the researchers investigated the following two guiding questions: (1) When a college establishes a stronger research focus, does it have a negative impact on untenured faculty? and (2) In what ways can a college (or institution) build support strategies for untenured faculty working an overload? The following ways were mentioned in regards to supporting untenured faculty: (a) make supporting untenured faculty members an institutional priority, (b) have a “point person” who would inform untenured faculty members about deadlines, tenure procedures, etc., (c) assign a research, publication, grant and/or tenure mentor, (d) find ways to reduce high teaching loads if there are also high research expectations, and (e) receive constructive feedback about research.

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