|Chapter 4: Supporting Faculty in Leadership Roles
Unlike most federal
training programs, the MCH Training Program allows projects to use grant
funds to support faculty as well as trainees. In part, this is because
the MCH Training Program views the mandate of training for leadership
to include empowering faculty to function
as leaders. It is unlikely that a project could teach its trainees to
become leaders if the faculty were not themselves leaders in the field
and able to model leadership. Moreover, by supporting key faculty in a
field, MCHB is able to influence these persons and the departments and
associations to which they belong. In addition, the program’s emphasis
on policy work and its public health orientation encourage and support
faculty to advocate on behalf of children, something that academics do
not routinely do.
The evaluation of the MCH Training Program examined
differences in the extent to which projects foster faculty leadership,
the styles of leadership the projects encourage, and the impact of faculty
leadership on the universities where the faculty are employed.
"There are things that I would never have stretched
to do without this grant, such as serving as president of the Alabama
Chapter of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners and serving
in leadership positions in other national groups."
-Faculty member, Pediatric Pulmonary Center
THE MCH TRAINING PROGRAM
MODEL OF LEADERSHIP VERSUS THE UNIVERSITY MODEL OF SCHOLARSHIP
Many project directors and faculty
report that the MCH Training Program model of leadership is at odds with
their university’s model. MCH training grants require faculty to
provide consultation, technical assistance, and continuing education,
and to develop relationships with public health agencies and policymakers;
the grants also encourage applied research. Many universities encourage
research, especially basic research, to the exclusion of other activities.
Provision of consultation and technical assistance may be viewed as detracting
from research and teaching, and is only tolerated at best. Faculty who
are primarily or fully grant-sup-ported must track their time and cannot
engage in activities for which they are not funded (except on their own
time, of course).
Faculty in many training projects describe feeling under considerable
pressure, especially if they are employed by universities that require
them to generate their salaries through grants. Some faculty describe
60- to 70-hour work weeks as standard. If faculty devote a large percentage
of time to seeking out grant opportunities and developing competitive
applications, other activities such as working with students or local
communities suffer. Faculty supported by an MCH Training Program grant,
however, report spending more time with students and trainees, thereby
providing trainees with a better quality of education; these faculty
also use their expertise to improve services for women and children
in their communities and, through their policy work, around the nation.
Because of its outreach requirements and the funding available to faculty
for activities that are not traditionally supported, MCH Training Program
grants alter the pattern of activities of faculty in fairly fundamental
"As a new faculty member, the grant supported
me as I developed new courses. Grant support also affords us the time
to provide intensive student support that we could not do if we were
primarily supported by research funds."
-Faculty member, School of Public Health
COLLABORATION AND THE INTERDISCIPLINARY
The Carnegie Foundation report, Scholarship
Reconsidered,emphasizes the important role of “the
scholarship of integration.” Interdisciplinary work is defined in
this important report as key to the integration of knowledge and to an
understanding of the implications of research findings in real-world settings.
The MCH Training Program strongly encourages such interdisciplinary collaboration.
"The MCH department provides a safe harbor and
promotes dialogue around issues that are not possible elsewhere. As
a result, when faculty sit on university committees, they
feel that they can firmly represent the MCH viewpoint."
-Faculty member, School of Public Health
Faculty in MCH training projects state that they derive
an important benefit from the program’s grants due to the collaboration
the program fosters. The Training Program’s grants increase the
number of faculty within a department who focus on MCH issues; that
is, the grants help to nourish a critical mass of faculty interested
in MCH. Faculty learn from and support one another and in this way are
able to change their departments. Many grantees report that the MCH
Training Program grant has led to greater attention to women and children
throughout the department, not just in the classes specifically designated
for learning about MCH.
"The nutrition, nursing, psychology, and social
work faculty are new at [the university] because of the
LEAH program. They have benefited by exposure to clinical
populations, research resources, and medical expertise. They would not
have had access to these had they not been part of the LEAH program.
As a result of this exposure, they have become more competitive
grant applicants, and better researchers, clinicians, and teachers."
Projects with an interdisciplinary faculty have additional
opportunities for collaboration. The interdisciplinary projects report
that, without the MCH Training Program grant, they would have far fewer
disciplines involved in training; most report that they would probably
revert to unidisciplinary training. Faculty in interdisciplinary programs
believe that students receive a better, more complete education. Faculty,
too, benefit from being a part of the interdisciplinary team, partly
because of the learning that takes place among faculty members from
various disciplines. Faculty also report that being a part of an interdisciplinary
model assists them in obtaining grant funds from other sources, because
funders like this model.
FOSTERING CHANGE WITHIN
Many faculty supported
by the MCH Training Program participate in university governance through
committee work. Deans, in particular, cite the positive influence of MCH
Training Program faculty on their colleagues through university committee
work. According to these respondents, MCH Training Program faculty are
persistent in advocating for many of the core MCH values (e.g., cultural
competency and interdisciplinary training) and in helping their colleagues
remember the needs of women and children.
"In developing the strategic plan for the university,
we tried to focus on breaking even financially, but the MCH faculty
offered some proposals to help us remember why we’re
here. They’re almost our conscience in ways that are important."
Sometimes such advocacy results in institution-wide
changes; for example, at a few universities, courses developed as a
result of an MCH training project have been made available to the entire
student body. In other cases, the MCH project provides an avenue for
dissemination of information and diffusion of innovations.
"Recently, the Occupational Therapy Department
was instrumental in ensuring that MCH issues such as cultural
competence, family-centered care, prevention and wellness,
and a focus on children were addressed in the new undergraduate curriculum
for the entire college."
-Department chair, Occupational Therapy
“A number of projects have developed joint
degree programs with other departments within their universities, and
many cross-list their courses; for example, at the
University of Tennessee, the nutrition interdisciplinary seminar is
cross-listed with courses in public health, nutrition, nursing, and
social work. These cooperative ventures expand the number of students
who have exposure to MCH content, and they also provide an avenue of
influence to the collaborating departments. Guest lectures and grand
rounds by MCH faculty are other examples cited frequently by grantees
as ways that they expand the MCH influence.
"The access to information and resources provided
through the grant has led to a general diffusion of MCH information
throughout the curriculum. For example, Bright Futures materials have
recently been incorporated in the master’s-level entry courses
as part of a curriculum revision process, even though
master’s-level students are not supported by the grant. Prior
to this revision, the curriculum had been primarily disability-focused."
-Department chair, Occupational Therapy
THE NEED FOR MCH FACULTY
It's hard to get
faculty. The preponderance of faculty here are between 56 and 65 years
of age. We have a concern about upcoming retirements.”
-Project director, Pediatric Dentistry
Some of the MCH training projects focus primarily on
educating individuals to become faculty members. Many project directors
believe that doctoral-level training should be even more strongly emphasized
in the MCH Training Program than it is now. In some fields, the professoriate
is aging, and faculty are starting to retire with no one trained and
available to take their places. Universities have already experienced
difficulty filling certain types of positions with persons who are appropriately
"Nationally, only about 20 U.S. citizens are
trained through pediatric pulmonary fellowships each year, and that
is not enough to keep up with retirements. There are not enough faculty
to fill the available positions."
-Project director, Pediatric Pulmonary Center
A related issue is that some geographic regions have
difficulty attracting top faculty from elsewhere. Professors must be
trained locally, and doctoral programs are especially needed.
"We have a small faculty and it’s exhausting.
We have the potential for burnout. We’re advertising now, but
there are ten other similar positions being advertised around the country.
There are not enough doctorally prepared faculty with the right collection
of skills. Our salary is competitive nationally, but there
are some people who don’t want to come here. The lack of doctoral
programs is a real problem."
-Project director, School of Public Health
The support of faculty
through MCH Training Program grants has far-reaching results. The grants
enable faculty to undertake activities that can help them become strong
leaders in their fields, both locally and nationally, and in their universities.
As leaders, they are able to promote MCH values and foster service delivery
changes that improve the health of women and children. These activities
are often in conflict with their faculty roles within their universities,
but most faculty have made efforts to overcome tensions and better serve
the MCH field.