The project focused on the Scholar’s School of Nursing’s recent adoption of the Boyer Model to define scholarship. A Scholarship Grid was needed to define the annual and on-going scholarly expectations for full time faculty using the Boyer Model’s concepts of Discovery, Integration, Application, and Teaching. Information sessions on Boyer’s Model were provided and two surveys conducted to determine faculty’s understanding of the model and expectations for each of the model’s concepts. The grid included examples of scholarship in each of the model’s levels of scholarship (discovery, integration, application, and teaching). The Faculty Scholarship Grid received approval from faculty and administration. Assuming the role of Assistant Chair of Graduate Studies, a newly created role, required leadership skills that promoted both the development of the Scholarship Grid and personal professional development. Administrative challenges included the clarification of the position’s job description, delineating roles for the Program Chair and Assistant Program Chair to avoid duplication. This promoted better communication among the stakeholders and expedited work on the Scholarship Grid. Leadership challenges included scheduling courses to over 80 faculty and 90 to 100 sections nine terms annually in a timely fashion without consuming the Assistant Chair’s time. A Scheduling Availability Tool was created by the Scholar. Faculty completed the tool with their availability per term and the time required to complete the schedule by the Assistant Chair was reduced by at least 30% since implementation.
Hiring adjunct faculty was another challenge faced in the new administrative role. The Assistant Chair works closely with the Program Chair and Faculty Recruiting in identifying viable candidates by reviewing CVs, reviewing a video interview, and conducting a panel interview with the candidate. The hiring process then went to Faculty Recruiting and Credentialing departments prior to enrolling in the University’s on-line orientation process. After completing the orientation process and an abbreviated School of Nursing orientation, new hires were ready to teach, with a timetable of months. Collaborating with all entities involved in the hiring process, the group identified strategies for streamlining the process. The process has now improved, moving candidates to the teaching role within six to eight weeks of panel interview.
Identifying and cultivating nursing’s stakeholders across the university was another challenge faced by the Scholar. As an online community, there was little face to face interaction with these key players so building online relationships was paramount for success of the program. Biweekly online meetings to communicate and, if necessary, travel to the home office for a series of face to face meetings with the key players was scheduled. In this timeframe, live meetings with the admissions advisors at least biannually have proven to be successful in identifying knowledge deficits as well as opening the door to communication. Additional challenges include the resignation of the Associate Dean of Students, which led to an increased workload for the Scholar. The recent acquisition of our for-profit online university by a public, non-profit ground university is now an on-going challenge in which the impact of these changes is to be determined in the months to come. In addition, there was a sudden departure of the Dean, leading to the Associate Dean’s appointment as interim dean. This led to an immediate trickle-down of additional duties as well as a level of concern of speculation of a new administrative leader’s focus. With the acquisition of the university and the sudden departure of the Dean, the fate of the project and the direction of the leadership journey of the Scholar are to be determined at a later date. Nevertheless, the leadership journey and the Scholarship Grid are the result of the conscientious dedication of the Scholar and the Scholar’s Mentors.
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