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Recruiting and Mentoring Faculty in MCH Programs. Greg R. Alexander and Donna J. Petersen UAB School of Public Health Dept of Maternal and Child Health. The Challenge. MCH is a multi-disciplinary field;

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recruiting and mentoring faculty in mch programs

Recruiting and Mentoring Faculty in MCH Programs

Greg R. Alexander and Donna J. Petersen

UAB School of Public Health

Dept of Maternal and Child Health

the challenge
The Challenge
  • MCH is a multi-disciplinary field;
  • MCH takes various forms within Schools of Public Health, e.g., departments, programs, etc.;
  • Few MCH programs produce doctorally prepared MCH graduates;
  • Few doctorally prepared MCH graduates choose academic careers.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

the challenge recruitment
The Challenge: Recruitment
  • With a small pool of newly minted graduates, MCH programs often recruit:
    • existingfaculty from other MCH programs;

or,

    • new faculty from other, related disciplines, perhaps in public health, but often from other disciplines outside traditional public health (economics, medicine, social sciences, etc).

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

the challenge recruitment4
The Challenge: Recruitment
  • Recruiting from other Schools’ MCH departments and programs:
    • May not win you any friends;

but,

    • Allows for growth in a niche area within a program by building a critical mass;

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

the challenge recruitment5
The Challenge: Recruitment
  • Recruiting from other Schools’ MCH programs:
    • Provides opportunities for faculty to:
      • join a team more suited to their research interests;
      • work with a different type of student; and,
      • be advanced in their careers;
    • Promotes cross fertilization of ideas;
    • However, it doesn’t increase the “whole.”

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

the challenge recruitment6
The Challenge: Recruitment
  • Recruiting from related disciplines:
    • May typically be done to fill a research niche;
    • Recruit may study women or children, but may not be fully versed in nor even familiar with “MCH;”
    • Therefore, recruit needs socialization into MCH.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

the challenge recruitment7
The Challenge: Recruitment
  • Recruiting from related disciplines:
    • Recruit may need preparation to teach MCH courses and to mentor MCH students;
    • Does promote inter-disciplinary work and models multi-disciplinary nature of MCH.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

recruitment strategy discussion
Recruitment StrategyDiscussion
  • What is successful in recruiting promising faculty to MCH programs?
  • What has not worked out?
  • How many schools hire their own graduates? How many do not?

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

recruitment strategies
Recruitment Strategies

Short-term:

  • Work with other schools to recruit their doctoral students during their final year and to place your own doctoral students;
  • Provide workshops for MCH doctoral students to let them know about academic career and specific job opportunities.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

recruitment strategies10
Recruitment Strategies

Long-term:

  • Provide brochures and workshops for MCH, Public Health, and health-related professional Master’s students to let them know about MCH academic career opportunities and MCH doctoral programs.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

the challenge mentoring
The Challenge: Mentoring

Mentoring supports several functions:

  • Assimilating and understanding MCH;
  • Fulfilling performance expectations for promotion and/or tenure;
  • Fulfilling performance expectations for merit increases;
  • Fulfilling personal career and professional development goals.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

acculturation
Acculturation
  • MCH programs may be unique within any given school of public health, as they represent the application of all of the disciplinary sciences to the promotion of health within a particular population.
  • MCH programs tend to be more applied, more practice-based, more community-focused, but cannot be any less rigorous.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

acculturation13
Acculturation
  • MCH curricula tend to focus on health and human development issues over the life cycle and within the context of the policies and programs that have been developed to address the particular health needs of this population group.
  • There is a clear link to MCH programs at the federal, state and local levels and there may be a growing international focus as well.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

acculturation14
Acculturation
  • MCH curricula also typically entail courses designed to build skills, i.e., needs assessment, management, evaluation, research methods or aspects of MCH practice (cultural competency, advocacy, ethics, etc.).
  • MCH curricula also offer in-depth content courses focused on various life stages (perinatal health, early childhood development, adolescent health, children with special health care needs) and on over-arching issues, e.g., nutrition.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

acculturation15
Acculturation
  • MCH students typically come from a variety of professional disciplines or backgrounds, some with previous degrees, others directly from undergraduate programs (not uni-dimensional).
  • MCH programs typically seek to prepare/produce MCH professionals for work in a variety of settings.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

acculturation16
Acculturation
  • Therefore, orientation to the field is very important for new faculty, as is the opportunity to attend workshops, travel to conferences and meetings, participate in seminars, and join MCH organizations.
  • Resources for professional development in MCH should be made available to all new faculty recruits!

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

acculturation17
Acculturation
  • Opportunities to demonstrate this acquired knowledge and perspective need to be made available. Examples:
    • Support participation in technical assistance, continuing education and consultation efforts;
    • Encourage active membership and leadership roles in at least one MCH organization;
    • Enable presentations at seminars and guest lectureships.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

promotion and tenure
Promotion and Tenure
  • Tenure-earning faculty must excel in Research, Instruction and Service.
  • Mentoring must make clear the expectations for success and guide the faculty member toward the most productive activities and appropriate distribution of time.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

merit increases
Merit Increases
  • At the same time, mentoring must:
    • Clarify the expectations of the faculty member as a part of the MCH unit; and,
    • help minimize conflict between the needs of the faculty member for promotion and tenure, and the needs of the department.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

professional development
Professional Development
  • Finally, individual faculty should and will have personal goals and part of the attraction of academia is the opportunity to pursue one’s own intellectual agenda.
  • Mentoring should encourage this, while striving for balance in the needs and the demands of academic life.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

instruction
Instruction

Expectations for teaching:

  • Schools vary in their expectations (numbers of courses per year, per term), but every faculty member should develop and teach at least one new course, while meeting other teaching needs of the program (assuming a class, co-teaching).
  • Content will vary depending on the needs of the program, but every attempt should be made to match talents and interests with course needs, though course needs will have to be met.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

instruction22
Instruction
  • Faculty should be made aware of policies and standards for new courses, and evaluation practices of the School (e.g., student evaluations, peer evaluations, syllabus requirements, common mistakes).
  • New faculty might be invited to co-teach a class that they then take over, or to work with a senior faculty member in developing or redeveloping a course.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

instruction23
Instruction
  • Mentoring should clarify the usual time commitment for a course (10, 12, 15, 20%) and indicate if that varies for new courses, co-instructed courses, courses with labs, etc.
  • Clarify criteria and options for “buying out” of courses.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

instruction24
Instruction

Student advising:

  • Student advising is another important component in instruction;
  • Clarify usual time commitment for advising masters and/or doctoral students;
  • Clarify what are the expected number and type of advisees per faculty.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

instruction25
Instruction
  • Though verging on “service”, in MCH we place considerable importance on the provision of continuing education to the MCH professional community.
  • Again, opportunities for new faculty to participate should be made available dependent upon interests and skills (also provides additional exposure to the field).

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

research
Research
  • External funding is the coin of the realm!
  • Clarify external funding expectations:
    • What portion of salary is to be covered annually, e.g., 25, 40, 50, 60, or 70%?
    • Is this every year or a running 2-3 year average?
    • How many years is one given to reach the annual funding goal, e.g., 3 years to reach 50%?

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

research27
Research
  • Clarify external funding expectations:
    • Is all external funding considered equal or is some money better, e.g., R01, training grant, state consulting contract, CE grant, etc?
    • Is the funding that comes with highest indirect cost rate the best?
    • How much time should be spent on other people’s grants, i.e., on what proportion of my funding and grants should I be PI versus co-investigator ?

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

research28
Research
  • Clarify external funding expectations:
    • Are there incentives for increasing funding, e.g., will I get a bonus, be released from teaching, be given a proportion of the in-directs I bring into the school?
    • Are there penalties for decreasing funding, e.g., will my salary be reduced, will I be suddenly given more classes to teach, will I not get an annual merit increase?

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

research29
Research
  • Clarify external funding expectations:
    • If I was brought in to cover the teaching and service responsibilities of other highly funded faculty, how will I be able to get my own research and funding going?
    • What are the pitfalls that result in some faculty getting trapped in the position of being viewed as the “second-class teachers” or the “practice people” in comparison to the “esteemed researchers.”

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

research30
Research
  • Every faculty member should strive to have a mix of external funding with at least one grant funded as PI.
  • Consider grants like stocks; diversity is good.
  • But a diverse funding portfolio is only good if the faculty member is not spread too thin.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

research31
Research

Funding versus Scholarship

  • Research now has two components: funding and published scholarship.
  • Getting funded supports scholarship but should not be a substitute for it.
  • Published scholarship is what advances knowledge.
  • We want to avoid the situation where the faculty member is too busy writing the next grant to write good quality publications.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

research32
Research
  • While the money is important, it is ultimately the science, the discovery and the dissemination of that science that makes scholarship!
  • Publications are essential for promotion.
  • Every faculty should be lead author on one-third or more of their publications, preferably at the rate of 2-3 per year.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

research33
Research
  • Of interest to MCH is the emergence of practice-based scholarship standards in many Schools of Public Health, because so much of what we do is applied.
  • Key is the contribution to knowledge.
  • Technical reports are acceptable; but, they should be scholarly, peer-reviewed if possible, and part of a diverse portfolio of publications.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

research34
Research
  • Recognition for one’s research comes in many forms, but the more traditional include:
    • Serving on study sections;
    • Reviewing articles or serving on editorial boards;
    • Participating in major conferences;
    • Serving on major committees.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

research35
Research
  • Whether engaging in traditional research or public health practice scholarship, developing a national or international reputation is very important in promotion and tenure decisions.
  • If this is not true at your current institution, it is likely to be true at your next institution.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

service
Service
  • Service is required at most universities (although how it is defined and valued may vary) and is an area where MCH usually excels (occasionally to its own detriment).
  • Service is considered at multiple levels :
    • The department and school;
    • The University;
    • The professional field;
    • The state or community.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

service37
Service

Some Basic Tenets:

  • Major field/community service commitments should be reserved for the full professors.
  • New recruits should not engage in excessive amounts of service.
  • Moral arguments can be made for doing service and practice but paying your dues with teaching and research first is a wiser course.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

service38
Service
  • Mentoring should clarify a reasonable level of service contributions.
  • For MCH, it is important that we engage and contribute to the field through professional organizations or through direct consultation, CE and technical assistance.
  • Faculty should also serve on one School committee and do this service competently.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

mentoring summary
Mentoring: Summary
  • All faculty need guidance in determining the appropriate mix of activity in teaching, research and service to:
    • enhance the chances of promotion and tenure;
    • secure desired salary increases;
    • contribute to a well-functioning MCH program and the MCH & public health field;
    • enjoy an intellectually fulfilling career.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

mentoring summary40
Mentoring: Summary
  • As many MCH faculty do not come from MCH, it is important that they be assimilated into MCH to be optimally productive and to contribute to the unit.
  • Having said that, MCH faculty, like other faculty, must teach quality courses, write successful grants, contribute to knowledge, and serve the greater community.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

mentoring summary41
Mentoring: Summary
  • Navigating among the many options and obstacles of academic life can be made easier with clear communication regarding:
    • performance expectations;
    • protection from time-draining tasks;
    • awareness of professional and career-enhancing opportunities.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

mentoring summary42
Mentoring: Summary
  • While senior faculty may hold varying opinions about the relative value of research, teaching and service/practice, junior faculty should not be used as chess pieces for these debates.
  • Junior faculty should be informed that, while there are various paths to becoming a full professor, some paths are less risky than others.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

mentoring summary43
Mentoring: Summary
  • The essential goal of good mentoring is to produce senior faculty who will serve as future mentors!

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham

presentation information
Presentation Information
  • This presentation was given at the:

Annual Meeting Workshop of the Association of

Teachers of Maternal and Child Health (ATMCH)

Arlington, Virginia March 4, 2002

  • This PowerPoint presentation can be viewed and downloaded from the following website:

http://main.uab.edu/show.asp?durki=44738.

Dept of Maternal and Child Health University of Alabama at Birmingham