, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 149-162

Research Circles: Supporting the Scholarship of Junior Faculty

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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.

All authors are currently teaching in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (IAS) at The University of Washington, Bothell (UWB). Except for Diane Gillespie, Professor and Associate Director of IAS, all other authors are Assistant Professors in IAS. Diane Gillespie received her Ph.D. in cultural and psychological studies in education from The University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Her interests include critical pedagogy, narrative psychology, and cultural diversity. Nives Dolšak received a joint Ph.D. in public policy and political science from Indiana University. Her interests include public policy, environmental policy, and international relations. Bruce Kochis, received his Ph.D. in Slavic languages & literatures at the University of Michigan. He focuses on global human rights policy, discourse analysis, and political theory. Ron Krabill received his Ph.D. in sociology and historical studies from New School for Social Research. His interests include comparative media, politics and social movements with a special emphasis on South Africa, as well as the study of peace, conflict, social justice, and human rights. Kari Lerum received her Ph.D. in sociology from The University of Washington. Her interests include culture, organizations, sexuality, qualitative methods, and visual studies. Anne Peterson received her Ph.D. from Washington University. Her interests include urban politics and policy and the distribution of natural resources at the local level. Elizabeth Thomas received her Ph.D. in psychology from The University of Illinois at Urbana—Champaign. Her interests include community-based resources for adolescent development, cultural psychology, and the social context of learning.