, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 149-162

Research Circles: Supporting the Scholarship of Junior Faculty

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Abstract

This article describes and assesses “Research Circles” as a mechanism for enhancing faculty collegiality and research. Recently established on our campus, these circles, composed of three to four faculty members, have had a particularly powerful effect on the new faculty members' adjustment to their tenure track positions, especially since they entered a context that might otherwise have been challenging: a new interdisciplinary upper-division campus with high expectations for teaching excellence. Based on the end-of-year evaluations, journals, and focus groups, the co-authors described themes that emerged from their participation in these circles. Circle participation not only facilitated faculty writing throughout their first year, but it also fostered the development of an interdisciplinary community which nurtured creativity and risk taking in writing.