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An Introduction to Shaping Your Career

From authors Don Haviland, Anna M. Ortiz, Laura Henriques


We wrote this book for many reasons. First, there is ample evidence that graduate school does an incomplete (even inadequate) job of preparing doctoral students for the full range of faculty roles and the varied institutions in which they will find themselves working (Gaff, Pruitt-Logan, & Weibl, 2000; Golde & Dore, 2001; Rice, Sorcinelli, & Austin, 2000). The ability to understand and navigate institutional context, identify and manage politics, develop positive professional relationships, and align individual goals with institutional expectations are critical to faculty success but seldom covered in graduate school.


Second, and closely related, early career faculty members often struggle with a host of issues as they transition into their role. They face varied and conflicting demands on their time: courses with multiple preparations that take more time than anticipated; committee work; advising; and, often, the need to develop a research agenda (Gaugler, 2004; Murray, 2000). As a result, many struggle with time management, making career choices, and balancing work-family responsibilities (Boice, 2000; Gaugler, 2004; Solem & Foote, 2006).


Third, external forces (accountability, technology, the decline of tenure-track lines) are reshaping faculty work (Matveev, 2007; Gappa, Austin, & Trice, 2007; O’Meara, Terosky, & Neumann, 2008). Faculty are increasingly asked to work across disciplines, be more collaborative, and be responsive to both market and governmental expectations to keep their institutions and academic programs competitive. These external forces shape the expectations held by our students, institutions, and other stakeholders and knowing how to navigate those expectations is both critical to success and very challenging.


However, most of all, we wrote this because we love what we do. Between us, we have more than 50 years of experience as faculty members and none of us can imagine a better or more fulfilling career. We have benefited from rich interactions with students and colleagues, learned new ideas and skills along the way, and have (we hope!) contributed to our institutions and the profession. To be sure, our work is among the most challenging thing we have ever done–but it is also among the most rewarding.


And our careers have become richer and more successful as we have learned to take an active role in shaping them ourselves. With time, experience, and reflection, we each came to think more deeply about how we want to spend our time, what we could best contribute, and the kind of professor we wished to be. As we did so, we took control of our career, making it easier to manage our time, navigate institutional politics, and learn and grow ourselves.


Fundamentally, we wrote this book to help others succeed in and appreciate a faculty career as much as we do. In this book, we draw upon our own experiences, but we draw on other resources as well. We share lessons, insights, and strategies from early career faculty collected as part of a longitudinal study of pre-tenure faculty. We also draw on literature from higher education about faculty work and careers, mentoring, and institutional climate to provide critical context for faculty careers. We hope that you find this useful. Enjoy!

Shaping Your Career Group


A Guide for Early Career Faculty
Foreword by Ann E. Austin
Paper, 978 1 62036 444 4, $29.95
E-Book, 978 1 62036 446 8, $23.99
Reviews, table of contents, and ordering information are on the book page.

About the Authors:

Don Haviland is associate professor in the Educational Leadership department at California State University, Long Beach. Has 25 years of experience in academic and student affairs, as well as educational research, and has extensive experience studying the faculty socialization and development process. His longitudinal study of 9 pre-tenure faculty through the first 6 years of their careers provides the empirical foundation for the proposed book.
Anna M. Ortiz is department chair and professor of Educational Leadership at California State University, Long Beach. She has 27 years of experience in academic and student affairs. She has served as the new faculty mentorship coordinator for 7 years in the College of Education at CSULB and has coordinated and/or presented at several AERA Division J new faculty institutes and NASPA doctoral seminars, and is the inaugural Director of the NASPA Faculty Division.
Laura Henriques is a professor and former chair of Science Education in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at California State University, Long Beach. She has been at CSULB for 20 years and taught physics prior to that. She has mentored faculty and new department chairs, presented and published with ASTE and NARST, received multiple federal and privately funded grants, and served as the President of the California Science Teachers Association.

Trans* in College

Z Niccolazzo memorably opens hir book with this description of hir tumultuous feelings as ze summoned the courage to reveal, for the first time, the gender identity ze was hirself struggling to understand:

I can still remember the first time I told someone, out loud, “I am transgender.” The memory is forever etched in my mind as if it happened yesterday. I was sitting outside of a coffee shop along a busy thoroughfare in Tucson, Arizona. In my right hand was my phone, pressed to my ear, and in my left hand was a cigarette, shaking with nerves. I sat staring at my iced coffee, condensation beading up and dripping off the plastic cup in the dry desert heat. I felt alone. I felt nervous. I paused mid-sentence, momentarily worrying that my words would be met with resistance, with the comment, “No, I don’t think you are” from the other end of the line. It was a silly worry, but it was present nonetheless, which then made me wonder what it meant to be transgender. Did I want to biomedically transition? What would that mean for me? What would that mean for my job? What would that mean for my family, for my friends, and for my life? And what if I did not want to transition? The few transgender people I knew were all transitioning, so I did not have a sense of what it meant to be transgender and not transition. That pause seemed to stretch out interminably. I brought the cigarette to my lips, took a drag, let out my breath, and said into the receiver, “Chase, I think I am trans*.”

This is a book that elicits, indeed demands, a personal response. It’s a book that has moved me, taught me much about a community about which I had many misconceptions and deep ignorance, provided me – a cisgender heterosexual male – with a framework for understanding the complexity and multiplicity of potential expressions and outward representations of trans* identity, and given me a window into the lived experiences of trans* living in a word that assumes binary genders as the norm.

Z’s book is as much addressed to trans* students themselves, offering them a frame, in Z’s words, to “understand the genders that mark them as different and to address the feelings brought on by the weight of that difference”; as it is to the cisgendered – whether friends and fellow students, faculty, student affairs professionals or college administrators.

There’s much to learn and ponder about. In concluding hir book, Z eschews simplistic “best practice” approaches to postulate what ze terms “implications” that can promote genuine gender equity and trans* inclusion.

-Stylus President & Publisher, John von Knorring

Trans* in College
Transgender Students’ Strategies for Navigating Campus Life and the Institutional Politics of Inclusion

Z Nicolazzo
Foreword by Kristen A. Renn
Afterword by Stephen John Quaye

For a Sample Chapter, Table of Contents, reviews, and more about Trans* in College, please visit the book page.


About the Author
Z Nicolazzo
is an assistant professor in the Adult and Higher Education program and a faculty associate in the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, both at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb. Z’s research agenda is focused on mapping gender across college contexts, with particular attention to trans* collegians, as well as the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and disability. Prior to becoming a faculty member, Z worked as a full-time student affairs professional experience in the functional areas of residence life, sexual violence prevention, and fraternity and sorority life.

You can follow Z on hir website at or on twitter at @trans_killjoy.

Why Grades Aren’t a Valid Measure of Student Learning

ct0r9901_linkedinShould student attainment of learning outcomes become the coin of the realm?
By author Ron Carriveau

The answer to this provocative question may lie with the use of the word “outcome” itself. It could be argued that everything in life has an outcome that results from an action that has occurred, or has an expected outcome that is dependent on certain actions taken. If we don’t obey the sign that says “stop” when we are driving, then the outcome may be a traffic ticket or a trip to the courthouse. Could this consequence also have been an expected outcome? In terms of probability, the answer would be yes.

In education, there is an abundance of student learning outcome expectations, often stated as the student “will” know or “do” something or think in a particular way, or “will be able to” meet these expectations. Learning outcome statements read as though 100% attainment is expected, but in reality the expectation is that students will attain the outcomes to some degree. So it is paramount that a valid measure of the attainment of the outcomes can be calculated.

In the education world, outcome statements are created by course instructors and by various types and levels of organizations. Outcomes can come from a program, institution, professional organization, regional accrediting body, and state and federal departments of education, among others. Additionally, large and highly influential educational organizations publish what outcome expectations should be met for anyone who goes through an educational system and receives a document that validates their learning.

To get a measure of the students’ attainment of the outcomes, assessments of various types are used, and the student receives points on the measurement scale used for the assessment. What makes the scores “outcome attainment measures” is that each item used in the various assessments, whether selected response items (like multiple-choice) or constructed response items (like writings, performances, and projects) is directly linked to an outcome statement.

If it is agreed that assessment items should be written to “specific” learning outcome statements, then what should be used to report student attainment of the outcomes? Furthermore, what should be used to evaluate and report the degree of attainment of the outcomes at the course, program, and institutional levels, and beyond to outside organizations?

In Connecting the Dots, I suggest a three-level model to accomplish these tasks:

  • Attainment of the specific learning outcomes (sLOs) is derived from the percentage of items correct that are directly linked to the sLO statements and thus is useful to the instructor for making instructional and course design decisions.
  • The sLO attainment values aggregate to a broader level, called the General Learning Outcome (GLO) level, useful for reporting at the department and program levels.
  • The GLOs aggregate to the broadest level, called GOAL, which is useful for reporting at the institutional levels.

The attainment values can also be assigned to outcome statements from outside organizations when there is an outcome statement match. Thus, we have a structure for calculating attainment of outcomes at all levels and a way to communicate the attainment to all stakeholder levels, including the individual student level.

Should an outcome attainment measure challenge the traditional coin of the realm – grades – for making valid decisions about students, courses, and institutions? The answer is yes, and rightly so.

The validity of grades awarded has been questioned for many years by measurement experts and by educators (Haladyna, 1999). The issue is that with traditional grading, the total points that can be attained for a course includes points for actions that are not directly related to learning outcome statements or the calculation of outcome attainment values, actions such as attendance, attitude, class participation, extra credit, neatness, participation, and violation of deadlines to name a few.

Some educators support giving grade points for some or all of these actions, some do not support giving points, and some say it is open to argument or discussion. Giving points for these actions can cause grade inflation (even when outcome based assessment results are included in the total points earned) or can lower grades that would be awarded if based on outcome-attainment values only, and thus can significantly affect the validity of the grades awarded as measures of student attainment of the outcomes.


Connecting the Dots
Developing Student Learning Outcomes and Outcomes-Based Assessment
Second Edition
Ronald S. Carriveau

This book is designed to help faculty and institutions of higher education meet these demands by obtaining, managing, using, and reporting valid outcome attainment measures at the course level; and mapping outcome attainment from the course level to departmental, degree program, and institutional levels, and beyond. It demonstrates how to communicate clearly what students are supposed to know and be able to do; write assessments that measure the expectations; and produce test scores that are valid for their intended use and interpretation, so that valid inferences can be made about students and programs.

It is a “how-to” manual that is rich with guidelines, model forms, and examples that will lead the reader through the steps to “connect the dots” from outcomes assessment to outcomes-based reporting.

About the Author
Ronald S. Carriveau is the Outcomes, Assessment, and Measurement Specialist, and QEP Assistant Director, At the Center for Learning Enhancement, Assessment, and Redesign, University of North Texas, and is the assistant director for the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan for accreditation.

Dr. Carriveau earned a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology. He has taught in the public school system, held the position of associate professor at the university level, served as director of assessment at a large school district and at the state department of education, and was a test development manager for a national test publisher. He has consulted nationally and internationally.

For more information about Connecting the Dots, sample chapters and book reviews, visit the book page.

Your Student Affairs Environment


Student Affairs Leadership
Defining the Role Through an Ecological Framework

Linda Kuk and James H. Banning
Foreword by Cynthia Cherrey

The goal of the book is to help advance our understanding of student affairs leadership. Research and modern theories of leadership have focus on “context” as a central component of effective leadership. This work focuses on leadership in the context of higher education.

This has not been a real focus of works in this profession in the past. The book is focused on helping both leaders and aspiring leaders understand the importance of context and how it works to shape effective leadership. We take the findings from the exploration of the leadership-environmental interaction of 24 highly successful Senior Student Affairs Officers (SSAOs) and apply them to guiding others in understanding how leadership can be enhanced.

Other works have used individual stories to speak to leadership, but none have actually studied a number of leaders in different types of institutions to present a descriptive portrayal of how leadership actually works in student affairs organizations.

What different “ecological contexts” are explored? The book studies student affairs as a cultural environment, a social environment, a physical environment, a political/legal environment, a resource environment, and an ethical environment.

From the Preface:

Specifically this work was designed to be distinct from other works by exploring leadership as viewed through a lens of ecological theory, and applying it to everyday leadership practice. (The ecological perspective will be explored more fully in chapter two). From this ecological perspective we view leadership as a transaction that involves leaders engaged with both the members of the organization and the existing contextual environment.
Each of the players within higher education organizations, including the positional leaders and other organizational members, have different roles but all of them have an influence on how leadership is perceived and addressed within the ecological context of the organization. Leadership effectiveness emerges when the interactions between the players and the ecological context are in harmony as they interact with the leadership process.

About the Authors

Linda Kuk currently serves as the Program Chair for the Higher Education Leadership Program in the School of Education at Colorado State University and is an Associate Professor of Education. Within her work, she continues to prepare leaders for roles in Higher Education Institutions. She has published three books: Positioning Student Affairs for Sustainable Change (2010), New Realities: Emerging Specialist Roles and Structures in Student Affairs Organizations (2012) and The Handbook for Student Affairs in Community Colleges (2014).

James H. Banning, Professor Emeritus, Colorado State University, is an environmental psychologist and studies institutional learning environments from the perspective of campus ecology. Jim holds a Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology from the University of Colorado – Boulder. In the student affairs field, he is seen as a pioneer in the campus ecology movement. He has co-authored several books: Educating by Design: Creating Campus Environments that Work, Positioning Student Affairs for Sustainable Change, and Designing for Learning: Creating Campus Environments for Student Success. 

For more about Student Affairs Leadership, including a sample chapter and table of contents, visit the book page.