Journal of Nursing Education

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EDITORIAL 

Faculty Assignments During Curriculum Changes

Ann Marriner, RN, PhD

Abstract

Changing faculty assignments is a big Stressor during major curriculum revision. A faculty member's assignment may need to change each term for a while as old curriculum courses are phased out and new curriculum courses are phased in. Some courses may be taught in both the outgoing and incoming curricula at the same time while other courses may not be taught in either curricula for awhile. That makes it particularly challenging to match faculty qualifications and preferences with their assignments. However, that is very important to maintain quality of teaching and morale. Once nitches have been found for the regular faculty, new faculty can be employed to fill vacancies. Temporary part-time faculty can be employed to meet the temporary needs such as teaching similar content in two curricula during the same term when there aren't enough regular faculty with appropriate qualifications. When some faculty specialists aren't needed temporarily, one can consider who is eligible for sabbaticals or who wants an educational or parental leave of absence. This could also be a good time to assign faculty specialists to special projects. Financial savings from faculty sabbaticals and leaves of absences might be used to employ temporary faculty with desired qualifications.

If all of these options still leave some faculty teaching out of their area of expertise, one should consider their preferences and assign them to content that will be useful to them in some context. For example, avoid having anyone develop and deliver a lecture for one time only by having faculty who usually deliver that lecture do it. Assign the faculty to a clinical area with which they are familiar, and decrease the number of students to be supervised clinically if possible. It is also helpful if faculty know their assignments one or two semesters in advance so they have time to prepare themselves.

New group formation is another major Stressor during curriculum revision. Groups usually form, storm, and norm before they perform. However, faculty are less likely to sabotage the new curriculum if they help plan it. It is facultative to anticipate what faculty will teach in the new curriculum and assign them to work groups to develop that part of the curriculum. Stability can be maintained through course descriptions and objectives and content focus while flexibility can be facilitated in how the objectives are met, evaluation of students, and scheduling.

Faculty are most committed to course development when they know they will be teaching the course. Course leaders or coordinators can be appointed for each course to facilitate faculty development regarding the course, to give input regarding course number, course title, maximum number of students, contact hours, meeting days, beginning time and end time, to help arrange for clinical facilities as necessary, to manage the preparation of course syllabi, handouts, audiovisual materials, and examinations, and to collaborate with other course coordinators to coordinate theory and clinical and to facilitate implementation related courses. A curriculum protocol that clarifies who is responsible for what curricular decisions is helpful for reducing conflict in decision making and problem solving related to curriculum changes.

Matching faculty talents and interests with their work assignments and the use of participation management facilitate faculty assignments during curriculum changes.…

Changing faculty assignments is a big Stressor during major curriculum revision. A faculty member's assignment may need to change each term for a while as old curriculum courses are phased out and new curriculum courses are phased in. Some courses may be taught in both the outgoing and incoming curricula at the same time while other courses may not be taught in either curricula for awhile. That makes it particularly challenging to match faculty qualifications and preferences with their assignments. However, that is very important to maintain quality of teaching and morale. Once nitches have been found for the regular faculty, new faculty can be employed to fill vacancies. Temporary part-time faculty can be employed to meet the temporary needs such as teaching similar content in two curricula during the same term when there aren't enough regular faculty with appropriate qualifications. When some faculty specialists aren't needed temporarily, one can consider who is eligible for sabbaticals or who wants an educational or parental leave of absence. This could also be a good time to assign faculty specialists to special projects. Financial savings from faculty sabbaticals and leaves of absences might be used to employ temporary faculty with desired qualifications.

If all of these options still leave some faculty teaching out of their area of expertise, one should consider their preferences and assign them to content that will be useful to them in some context. For example, avoid having anyone develop and deliver a lecture for one time only by having faculty who usually deliver that lecture do it. Assign the faculty to a clinical area with which they are familiar, and decrease the number of students to be supervised clinically if possible. It is also helpful if faculty know their assignments one or two semesters in advance so they have time to prepare themselves.

New group formation is another major Stressor during curriculum revision. Groups usually form, storm, and norm before they perform. However, faculty are less likely to sabotage the new curriculum if they help plan it. It is facultative to anticipate what faculty will teach in the new curriculum and assign them to work groups to develop that part of the curriculum. Stability can be maintained through course descriptions and objectives and content focus while flexibility can be facilitated in how the objectives are met, evaluation of students, and scheduling.

Faculty are most committed to course development when they know they will be teaching the course. Course leaders or coordinators can be appointed for each course to facilitate faculty development regarding the course, to give input regarding course number, course title, maximum number of students, contact hours, meeting days, beginning time and end time, to help arrange for clinical facilities as necessary, to manage the preparation of course syllabi, handouts, audiovisual materials, and examinations, and to collaborate with other course coordinators to coordinate theory and clinical and to facilitate implementation related courses. A curriculum protocol that clarifies who is responsible for what curricular decisions is helpful for reducing conflict in decision making and problem solving related to curriculum changes.

Matching faculty talents and interests with their work assignments and the use of participation management facilitate faculty assignments during curriculum changes.

10.3928/0148-4834-19860401-01

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