Congratulations to Dr. Janis McMillan, Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction! Dr. McMillan’s research, “Participation in an Online Faculty Development Program to Support Novice Nursing Faculty,“ was selected for the 2021 Dissertation of the Year Award by the Mentorship and Mentoring Practices SIG of the American Educational Research Association. Her research highlights important issues that the committee felt deserved recognition and celebration, especially as the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic and the crucial shortage of skilled nurses and faculty.
Participation in an Online faculty development program to support novice nursing faculty
The lack of nursing faculty is negatively impacting the much-needed growth in the number of registered nurses needed in the United States, which is projected to increase alarmingly in the next five to six years. There are few programs that exist today to prepare nurses specifically to become nursing faculty; Registered Nurses (RNs) who choose to become university faculty are doing so without specific training in teaching and education. There is a lack of support and preparation that could assist in the initial transition period, leaving new nursing faculty to struggle. Faculty development via online modules would go a long way to assist novice nursing faculty to use the tools and resources available to transition to becoming expert nurse faculty. While there has been research on the benefits of orientation programs, mentoring processes, and academic preparation, there has been little discussion in professional literature of practical approaches to supporting nursing faculty during their transition.
The purpose of this dissertation study was to explore and describe a faculty development program to assist novice nursing faculty to transition more smoothly into their new role. Pragmatism as a paradigm was the foundation for this research following a qualitative exploratory-descriptive approach. The findings of this study will add to the existing literature addressing the shortage of nursing faculty and will add a practical approach that can be replicated to improve outcomes for novice faculty across the country. It is hoped that this faculty development program will begin the practice of supporting the transition of novice faculty to experienced ones.