Date of Award

8-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Educational Psychology and Research

Major Professor

Gary J. Skolits

Committee Members

Ralph G. Brockett, Russell L. French, Jennifer K. Richards

Abstract

In 1991, ORAU created the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Award program providing seed money for research of early career faculty at ORAU member universities. The Powe Awards are intended to enrich the research and professional growth of young faculty and result in new funding opportunities. Eligible applicants are full-time assistant professors at ORAU member institutions within two years of their initial tenure track appointments. Awardees receive a one-year grant worth a total of $10,000. Four hundred sixty Powe Awards were made from 1991 to 2011.

This descriptive study presents a secondary data analysis of 258 survey responses received in a 2012 follow-up survey. The survey focused on Powe awardees’ careers, research activities, and perceptions of the Powe Awards. Key variables studied are awardees’ peer reviewed publications, research presentations, research grants, honorary awards, continued employment at institution where Powe Award was received, tenure obtainment, leadership positions, and awardees’ perceptions of influence Powe Award had on their careers. Quantitative analysis of closed ended responses was supplemented by qualitative analysis of open-ended questions.

Study findings indicate that Powe awardees increase peer-reviewed paper publications and research presentations through their early and middle career stages followed by a decrease in their later career stage. Powe awardees earn grants increasingly throughout their careers and earned a total of 1,866 grants. Almost half of Powe awardees reported earning 210 awards. For Powe awardees (1996 through 2006), 88.1 percent of the survey respondents were awarded tenure and was awarded, on average, after five years of faculty service. Approximately four out of five survey respondents maintained continuous employment at the universities where they received their Powe Award. Powe awardees hold more leadership positions within their research communities than within their universities. Recipients of the Powe Award indicated in the open-ended comments that they gained confidence in their abilities as researchers early in their careers due to the Powe Award. Their comments also convey that the Powe Award funds are serving as seed money in the collection of preliminary data which is used toward earning future research grants.

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