Tips, Alerts and Networks

Alerts: Staying Current with Research in your Field
University Library, The University of Melbourne
Information about “alerts” as a way to keep up with what is new in a field of research. 

Publications and Research
American Association of University Professors
A collection of publications for higher education professionals to remain current.

Academic Conferences: Advice for the Anxious
The Chronicle of Higher Education (November, 2007)
Brief article with links to a lengthy primer on delivering papers at conferences, and other advice.

Tips for Building a Personal Learning Network on Campus and Online
Weimer, M. (December, 2009). Faculty Focus, Abilene Christian University
Offers ways to reach out to various collegial groups.

What Matters? Shaping Meaningful Learning through Teaching Information Literacy
Limberg, L., Alexandersson, M., Lantz-Alexandersson, A., & Folkesson, L. (2008). Library Journal
This article addresses the gaps in previous research on information literacy and makes suggestions for changing practices in the schools to improve information literacy.

Staying Current in the Field

Becoming an effective consumer of research
New faculty members must be avid consumers as well as producers of research to become outstanding faculty members.  Awareness of the latest findings, trends, understandings, insights and conversations in the field of study places an individual’s own research into a larger context.  For new faculty members one of the most challenging aspects of staying current is time.  We will explore a number of strategies for effectively finding the time to keep up with professional reading.

Reading key publications
Several types of publications are helpful to new faculty members.  First are those in their major field of study.  These become places to publish once the research is complete and findings are written up.  Next are interdisciplinary publications that link one area of research to others, or link theory to practice.  New faculty members may want to seek opportunities to connect with academics and practitioners in related fields to broaden the impact of their research on either academics or practice.  Finally there are general higher education publications that provide a big picture look at the issues that face the profession as a whole.  All three types of publication have a place in the landscape of a new faculty member as they work to become effective research consumers.

Attending key gatherings
Professional conferences and meetings offer new faculty members another venue for staying current in their field of study.  Many are annual events sponsored by professional organizations.  By choosing the gatherings carefully, new faculty members will begin to make connections to others doing similar work, related work, or complementary work, and may form relationships that last throughout a career.  By using these gatherings strategically, new faculty members set themselves on a course to build a pattern of inquiry that will bring their voice into the forefront of their field.  If they attend presentations by faculty members whose work pushes their thinking,  find academics making counter arguments and attend their sessions,  and become familiar with key strands of thought, and issues in the field, the knowledge gained will greatly impact the course of their own research as they make connections to the prevailing thinking, or strike out in entirely new directions.

Developing a network of colleagues
All of the activities that keep new faculty members current in their field of study offer opportunities to enter into dialogue with an intricate web of researchers who are building knowledge in concert with others.  By placing themselves into the midst of multiple conversations and perspectives, new faculty members begin to understand the complexities and nuances of their field of study.  It is the responsibility of new faculty members to seek out colleagues and enter the dialogue.  They should not wait to be invited.

Possible questions to ask about Staying Current in the Field:

  • Faculty members as research consumers
    What role does “faculty member as consumer of knowledge” play in the life of a new faculty member?
  • Reading key publications
    How do new faculty members locate publications that will connect them more fully to their field of study and to colleagues in related fields?
  • Attending key gatherings
    What are the places new faculty members have opportunities to mingle with those who will influence their thinking, become future collaborators, and push them in new directions?
  • Networking
    What role does networking play in the life of new faculty member?
top of page