The Benefits and Challenges of Networking for Online College Faculty for Long-Term Career Efficacy

Session Description
Networking is an important component of career enhancement, personal growth, skills progression, and long-term success for career focused professionals. However, for many online faculty members, networking is a skill that is often under developed and at times overlooked. Online faculty members can be prone to feeling less connected to their institution as well as their colleagues, and there can be the sense that they lack the time, resources and/or knowledge to engage with their colleagues (Paul & Cochran, 2016).

Networking, social connections, and academic communities are widely studied subjects and a copious amount of literature is available. However, studies on academic and professional networking amongst online faculty members is lacking. A limited amount of literature is available on the importance of, and methods for engaging in online networking for part-time and full-time online faculty.

Therefore, the goal of this presentation will be to discuss and elicit participant interaction on the following questions:
1. What is the importance of networking for career advancement as an online faculty member?
2. What methods can be used to foster networking in a virtual environment?
3. What social outlets are available for online faculty, and what is the impact of these on the emotional health of an online faculty member?

The authors contend that academic and professional networking programs are necessary for long-term sustainment of online faculty members. In this presentation, the authors will share challenges, benefits and best practices for online faculty networking at one of the largest online universities in the United States.

  • Tracy Crawford, University of Phoenix, Tempe, AZ, USA
  • Jenna Pavleck, University of Phoenix, Tempe, AZ, USA
  • Bjorn Mercer, University of Phoenix, Tempe, AZ, USA
  • Erin Alward, University of Phoenix, Tempe, AZ USA
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