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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Defining and measuring faculty engagement: Validation of the Faculty Engagement Survey
by Livingston, Jennifer, Ph.D., Azusa Pacific University, 2011, 199; 3467979
Abstract (Summary)

Much of the current research on the faculty experience has focused on the frequency of faculty behaviors and interactions to explore productivity and the influence on positive student outcomes (Astin, 1984; Blackburn & Lawrence, 1995; Kuh, 2003; Kuh & Hu, 2001). However, the personal experience, or the faculty member's psychological engagement, has received much less attention; yet, it is a potential contributor to faculty longevity and effectiveness (Gappa, Austin, & Trice, 2007; Huston, Norman, & Ambrose, 2007; O'Meara, Terosky, & Neumann, 2009). Nakamura and Csikszentmihalyi's (2005) preliminary definition of faculty engagement incorporates enjoyment in the challenge of one or more of the areas of teaching, research, and service, as well as experiencing congruence between one's values and those implicit in the demands of the task; however, their definition has not been empirically tested. The purpose of this study was to fill the gap in research created by an overemphasis on behavioral engagement by developing a richer definition of faculty engagement, as well as to refine and validate the Faculty Engagement Survey (FES), an instrument based on Nakamura and Csikszentmihalyi's conceptual framework that was designed to measure the components that encompass faculty engagement in the areas of teaching, research, and service. Data collected from 522 full-time undergraduate faculty members employed at ten 4-year colleges and universities across the United States were analyzed using structural equation modeling. The final first-order, 6-factor model of faculty engagement that emerged from the confirmatory factor analysis fits the data well (CFI = .948; RMSEA = .051) and indicates that faculty engagement is not a higher-order construct. The model suggests that faculty members experience psychological engagement in one or more roles but may not be equally engaged in teaching, research, and service. Given the importance of faculty longevity and effectiveness in influencing positive student outcomes, the results of this study suggest several changes may be necessary in faculty workload and expectations, hiring practices, faculty development, and the doctoral preparation of the next generation of faculty.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Schreiner, Laurie A.
School: Azusa Pacific University
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 72/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Occupational psychology, Higher education
Keywords: College faculty, College faculty attitudes, Confirmatory factor analysis, Faculty engagement, Structural equation modeling, Survey
Publication Number: 3467979
ISBN: 978-1-124-81212-0
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