The Socialization Process of New College Faculty in Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher Education
The purpose of this research was to examine the socialization experiences of new family and consumer sciences teacher educators, including their interpretations of career preparation, their first job, socialization during the first year, continuing socialization and career development, and respondents' recommendations for improving the socialization process. Organizational socialization provided the theory base.
Telephone and personal interviews were conducted with ten female family and consumer sciences teacher educators who held positions in comprehensive and research institutions across the country. The constant comparison method was used for analysis of the data.
Results of the study revealed that graduate school professors provided the role modeling participants believed was crucial in preparing them for their future career. Participants who had challenging and relevant coursework and opportunities for a variety of professional experiences during graduate school felt they were well prepared for their faculty roles. However participants for whom this was not the case felt their transition to a faculty role was much more of an overwhelming and unhappy experience.
New faculty orientation sessions and career development facilitated success at the university level, while department chairs and faculty peers provided support at the department level. Inhibitors of respondents' success included feelings of being overwhelmed with their workload, inability to balance professional and personal lives, and department pressure to conduct research and publish articles. Overall, participants indicated that lack of time was the primary inhibitor of their success. In spite of the overwhelming feelings of confusion, frustration, stress, and unhappiness during their first year in their new role, respondents reported that their second year was more positive.
Implications for improved practice include examining graduate program coursework to ensure relevance and application and including opportunities for increased responsibility in professional experiences related to teaching, research, and professional service. Departments with new faculty should provide opportunities for new faculty to meet both formally and informally with the department chair to discuss policies related to promotion and tenure. Further research could be done to examine the socialization experiences of new faculty in other areas of family and consumer sciences and vocational education to determine similarities or differences.