ERIC Number: EJ708832
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Reference Count: 60
Pathways to the Professoriate: The Role of Self, Others, and Environment in Shaping Academic Career Aspirations
Lindholm, Jennifer A.
Journal of Higher Education, v75 n6 p603 Nov-Dec 2004
The findings reported here are part of a larger study that examined how faculty view the linkages between themselves and their institutional work environments; how they create a sense of personal space and belonging within their academic units and the larger university; and how their self-perceptions of organizational fit affect their professional vitality (Lindholm, 2001). Here, the personal and environmental factors that led current faculty to pursue academic careers are examined retrospectively. Specifically, attention is focused on their personal attraction to faculty work, the timing of their decision to pursue an academic career, and the people and experiences that were influential in shaping their career decision-making process. Participants were 36 professors (12 women, 24 men) who held full-time, tenure track appointments in one of four departments at a large public research university. Faculty were sampled within one large department (i.e., a unit comprised of at least 20 full-time faculty) within each division (humanities, physical sciences, social sciences, and life sciences) of the College of Letters and Science. Overall, 26 percent of those contacted were willing and available to participate in the study. Participation rates ranged from 17 percent in the social sciences to 35 percent in the humanities. Demographically, the sample generally reflects the university's overall faculty population. The findings reported here are based on conversations with men and women of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds who were at different stages of their academic careers (i.e., assistant, associate, and full professors with 1-30+ years of faculty work experience). Overall, participants spoke passionately about their work. Nearly without exception, they emphasized the inherent "fit" between themselves and their jobs, especially with respect to the opportunities that academic work offers for fulfilling their individual needs and ambitions.
Descriptors: Career Choice, College Faculty, Educational Experience, Interests, Self Concept, Influences, Occupational Aspiration, Research Universities, Career Development
Ohio State University Press, 180 Pressey Hall, 1070 Carmack Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1002. Web site: http://www.ohiostatepress.org.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A