Currently, I am finishing up a project that proposes a multidiensional model of leadership for community college leaders (see model above). This research included over 75 interviews with community college leaders and faculty. The model created provides a dynamic way to view leadership and is based on five propositions: 1) There is no single or universal model for leadership at community colleges; 2) Leaders are multidimensional and multifaceted, relying on different skills and perspectives to address the complexity of their leadership challenges; 3) Leaders are guided by their underlying cognitive schemas; 4) Some central beliefs guiding leaders are less open than others to change; and 5) Leadership development should be based on the tenants of adult learning theory, recognizing leaders as learners. (Eddy, P. L. (2010). Community college leadership: A multidimensional model for leading change. Sterling, VA: Stylus Press)
The second project I am completing regarding community college leadership concerns rural community college leaders. Here, I interviewed 20 presidents and vice-presidents of rural community colleges in one state. The key finding from this research was that a significant number of leaders were promoted from within or had rural roots, that these leaders learned primarily on-the-job, and that role shift occurred after promotion.
My recent research on faculty work concerns the increased pressures faculty feel to be "ideal" workers. In this case, faculty are pressed to work beyond a typical 40-hour workweek and the work environment is gendered from the perspective that the norms are that a partner is at home to take up the family responsibilities. The findings from interview data of 12 early career faculty show patterns of overwork and a mismatch in expectations of what it means to be a faculty member in a post-modern world. These faculty members had some resistant behavior, but for the most part, bought into the ideal worker construct. The study concludes that doctoral programs need to help in socialization of new faculty member and that institutions need to address expectations of faculty.
Another study I am finishing on faculty work concerns faculty working in remote or rural locations. This work shows that some view their positions as way stations on the way to "better" institutions, whereas others have crafted full academic lives in these hinterland locales. The majority of faculty positions are in programs that are not the "top 10" in the country, thus new faculty must be prepared for working in an environment markedly different from the research university in which they were trained.
I participated in a Fulbright Scholar program at the Dublin Institute of Technology during spring 2009. My research involved looking at partnerships between colleges and universities. This research highlighted the role of the champion in ultimate partnership success, as well as having a set of common goals guiding the collaboration. Currently, I am working with other scholars on a volume for New Directions for Higher Education that highlights cases studies of various international partnerships, shifts in faculty work within these pairings, the role of US academic administrators in managing faculty participation in these partnerships, and the impact on student learning in study abroad programs involving multiple institutions.
A common element in my research concerns collaborations. In this project, I am interested in understanding how faculty groups use critical reflection to create thought communities on campus. These communities provide a group space for intellectual discourse that may complement an individual faculty member's work or may create a new joint research project. Colleagues and I have published one paper on this topic and continue to investigate what makes this type of faculty collaboration successful. Key elements include the building of trust within the group, the focus on process versus product, and the creation of group space.