Preparing Faculty to Advance the Science of Nursing Education

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Susan Welch, EdD, RN, CCRN, CNE
School of Nursing, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA, USA
Theresa M. Valiga, EdD
School of Nursing, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA
Donna M. Nickitas, PhD
Nursing, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, NY, USA

Nursing faculty frequently come to schools of nursing with limited experience in pedagogy, in education-focused leadership, or scholarship. Few schools of nursing have a comprehensive, formalized faculty development program that help faculty to transition and develop expertise in these areas. Such was the case in this moderate-research-intensive university that offers an EdD program in Nursing Education and seeks to be named an NLN Center of Excellence (COE) in Nursing Education. With support of the ENFLA program, a model was developed and initiated to help faculty expand their own education-focused scholarship and help the school position itself for success in applying for COE designation in the category of “Creating Environments that Advance the Science of Nursing Education.”

A major component of the Faculty Development Program model was the creation of a Center for Nursing Education Excellence that is housed in the School of Nursing and focuses on helping faculty enhance their expertise related to pedagogy, as well as education-focused scholarship and leadership. The Center that emerged from the ENFLA project is important to the school of nursing for three reasons: (1) faculty who teach and guide dissertations in the EdD program that focuses on nursing education must be supported to become and remain accomplished pedagogical scholars and leaders, (2) the school subscribes to Boyer’s model of scholarship and aims to “live” that model more explicitly, and (3) the science that underlies our practice as nurse educators is limited and must be developed if we are to teach, assess learning and design curricula based on evidence and thereby sustain excellence in our academic programs and best prepare the clinicians, teachers and pedagogical scholars of the future.

The faculty development program that is offered through the school’s Center for Nursing Education Excellence reflects the nurse educator competencies promulgated by the NLN (Halstead, 2007) and addresses pedagogy, educational scholarship, and leadership in nursing education. The pedagogy component of the model includes curriculum, evaluation, and teaching and learning; the scholarship component mirrors Boyer’s research domains of discovery, integration, application, and teaching; and the leadership component of the model addresses new faculty orientation, academic citizenship, professional role development, and mentoring.

Kotter’s (1996) elements to lead change and transform an organization were used to design and implement the project. The summative evaluation of the faculty development program will be “ongoing” after completion of the ENFLA program and consist of determining the extent to which the mission, vision, and short- and long-term goals are met. Other measures of success will include the number of nursing faculty who agree to participate in shaping the faculty development program and the Center, the number of faculty who attend faculty development program offerings, and the degree to which individual faculty programs of pedagogical research are initiated or extended. Evaluation data of the project will also include a Goal Attainment Scale and Knowledge Utilization Survey. The Goal Attainment Scale will include individual leadership goals for the scholar to accomplish as a result of participation in the ENFLA program. The Knowledge Utilization Survey will consist of statements related to the dissemination of the project outcomes to the administrators, faculty, and staff within the school and beyond the school. Finally, a measure of success will be the submission – and hopefully positive outcome – of two applications for designation as an National League for Nursing (NLN) Center of Excellence (COE) in Nursing Education: 2019 for the category of Promoting the Pedagogical Expertise of Faculty, and 2021 for the category of Advancing the Science of Nursing Education.