Abstract

Objective. This descriptive study explored the reasons for occupational therapy faculty members selecting academia as a career, their use of faculty development practices, and the relationship of organizational culture to collegial support.

Method. Full-time faculty members (n = 191) from accredited occupational therapy professional programs in the United States completed a questionnaire about their early years in academia.

Results. Respondents indicated that their primary reason for selecting academia as a career was their love of teaching. The most helpful faculty development practice was frequent sharing of ideas with peer faculty members.

Conclusions. The findings support the following recommendations for program administrators and experienced faculty members to assist new faculty members in adapting to academia: (a) support and develop new avenues for sharing ideas in formal and informal settings; (b) develop mentoring programs, with new faculty members observing experienced teachers and receiving feedback and assistance for their own teaching; (c) encourage attendance at instructional seminars; (d) provide resource materials and texts on improving teaching and research skills; (e) allow time for research; and (f) encourage coauthoring of publications.

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