By: Henry W. Smorynski, PhD
Sometimes faculty development programs are inherited by an academic leader, and other times they have to be built. In either case the academic leader needs to heed some wisdom from the Chinese classic the Tao Te Ching. Faculty development is a long journey wherever one starts; like a journey of 1,000 miles, it begins with the first step. Faculty development is also to be understood as a destination. Only if one has a clearly identified end for it will it achieve its desired destination—a highly effective and participatory faculty.
Faculty development program success begins with recruiting faculty to a specific institution’s mission during the recruitment and interview process. Bringing faculty into an institution who are not committed to its teaching, research, and service mission incentives and imperatives will lead to mismatches between faculty career aspirations and institutional resource commitments. Such mismatches undermine collegiality and undercut faculty development efforts. Hiring faculty who are overly focused on their discipline versus teaching and the school’s mission will lead to faculty dissatisfaction and turnover, with negative consequences for the classroom and within academic departments.