Faculty members as research consumers


Staying current in a discipline
An important element of becoming an accomplished faculty member is keeping up with research, key issues and trends in your field of study. Veteran faculty members share numerous strategies for how they stay up-to-date, but virtually all of them involve setting aside dedicated time to immerse themselves in, reflect upon, and consider the latest findings in their field of endeavor and related fields.

Staying current in the profession
In addition to responsibilities to a field or fields of study, accomplished faculty members keep up-to-date on issues and research in the profession more generally.  Topics that broadly address career challenges, changes in the profession, or in expectations of faculty members, and trends in higher education are all addressed in numerous publications and at conferences on higher education.  It is possible to keep informed through membership in some key organizations, subscription to key publications, and involvement in the professional activities taking place on your campus.

Staying current with teaching and learning
The field of teaching and learning is expanding rapidly due to large numbers of research studies about how students learn and strategies for teaching a diverse population of students.  The rate of development of new technologies to enhance learning is ahead of most faculty members as they become familiar with and capable of using them.  New faculty members who want to become accomplished need to stay current on new developments, be able to determine which ones show evidence of promise, and learn how to best employ them with students to enhance learning.


Rationale for Staying Current

A Faculty Caste System?
Inside Higher Ed (December, 2008)
This article addresses pros and cons of designating certain faculty as “graduate faculty” and the impact it might have on faculty, students, and accreditation.

What Matters? Shaping Meaningful Learning through Teaching Information Literacy
Limberg, L., Alexandersson, M., Lantz-Alexandersson, A., & Folkesson, L. (2008). Library Journal
This article addresses the gaps in previous research on information literacy and makes suggestions for changing practices in the schools to improve information literacy.

Strategies for Staying Current

Alerts: Staying Current with Research in your Field
Research Guides, Penn Libraries
This website offers information about “alerts” as a way to keep up with what is new in your field of research.  It is time consuming to search databases or scan journal table of contents for relevant materials, and registering for this service allows faculty to create search strategies that will be matched against each update of the database or new journal issue.  Notification comes through email or RSS feed.

How Do I Stay Current?
Weill Cornell Medical College, Qatar
This site outlines how to stay current using email alert services that deliver current citations or the table of contents for selected journals.

Staying Current with Research
Digital Research Tools Wiki (DiRT), PB Works
This site offers tools to stay current, including EventSeer, Google Alerts, Google Reader, IssueLab, and Journal alerting services.

Resources for Keeping Up & Staying Current
Whisner, M., Nyberg, C. & Etheredge, S. (Updated December, 2009). Marian Gould Gallagher Law Library, School of Law, University of Washington
These law librarians describe a number of updating tools available to School of Law faculty and students. These include: CILP and SmartCILP. There are links to many other sites such as Berkeley Electronic Press, the Bureau of National Affairs, Lexis Nexis, and more. There may be similar services offered by the library at your campus.

Staying Current: Tips, Strategies and Solutions
Malkinson, T. (2003). Proposal manager / documentation specialist, Engagement Services Organization of GE Capital IT Solutions, Inc., ieee-usa Todays Engineers Online
This article explores ways for busy engineers to stay current, including the internet, networks of colleagues, returning to school, or being radical.

Staying Current with Science News – Searching and Sources Online
Anderson, P.F. (May, 2007). Slideshare
This powerpoint outlines a number of effective strategies for staying current, including searching Google strategically, using news alerts, RSS feeds, using search engines, and major news sources. Challenges and advantages of each strategy are also explored.

Keeping Current with Research on Teaching with Technology

Mind the Gap
Harris, J., Howe, P. & Hunnicutt, N., Instructional Technology Consultants, Brief Hybrid Workshop, MERLOT, an online peer reviewed archive of teaching and learning materials
This workshop includes warm-up activities, a 5 minute video, and a reflection activity for working with faculty members to help them consider the gap between student expectations for learning and those of their faculty.  It contains powerful images of student voice concerning the need for connectivity. It is based on work by Michael Wesch, a cultural anthropologist at University of Kansas who was disturbed by the space in which he was assigned to teach, which he believed was not conducive to learning.

The Connected Student
Harris, J., Howe, P. & Hunnicutt, N. (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), Instructional Technology Consultants, Brief Hybrid Workshop, MERLOT, an online peer reviewed archive of teaching and learning materials.
This workshop explores the use of Web 2.0 for enhancing student learning.

Beyond Social Networking – Using Facebook in your Teaching
Faculty Innovation Center Newsletter, The University of Texas, Austin
In this article faculty members ponder if the fact that students constantly check their Facebook accounts means we might reach them effectively through that medium.

Faculty Perceptions and Uses of Instructional Technology
Wilson, W. (2003). Research In Brief, EDUCAUSE Quarterly, No. 2
This article notes the increasing demand by students to incorporate technology into learning, and the results of a study of faculty perceptions towards technology and their motivation to employ it in classrooms.

Technology Solutions for Teaching and Research
Computing@UW Madison, Division of Information Technology. University of Wisconsin, Madison
This site offers one example of the type of support campuses offer faculty for keeping up-to-date with the latest learning enhancements available.

Managing Courses, Defining Learning: What Administrators Want
Jafari, A. et.al. (2006). Computing & Information Technology, CyberLab at Indiana University, Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI)
EDUCAUSE Review, Vol. 41
The authors of this article interviewed faculty, scientists, librarians, students, administrators and IT managers about the top three advantages and challenges of currently used course management systems, looking for themes.

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