Junior faculty perspectives on the academic environment: A call for development and onboarding

Keith A. Mays, Lorel E. Burns, Grishondra Branch-Mays, Ryan Quock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: One challenge in dental education is new faculty members can be hired with limited teaching experience or understanding of pedagogy. Recent publications document increasing initiatives of faculty development in US and Canadian dental schools. This study evaluates full-time faculty perspectives of their develop and academic environment.

METHODS: A 33-item questionnaire distributed to senior administrators and forwarded to faculty, collected data on demographics and satisfaction, utilizing a 5-item Likert scale, multiple choice, and binary yes/no questions. Responses were descriptively and statistically analyzed utilizing an analysis of variance, chi-square, and two-sample t-test.

RESULTS: There were 183 faculty respondents (37.7% male/62.3% female), age ranges were 20-29 (2.2%), 30-39 (53.5%), and 41-49(44.3). Respondents reported race/ethnicity: Caucasian (60.7%), Asian (19.1%), Hispanic (12.6%), Black/African American (5.5%), two or more races (2.2%), and Native American 0%. Length of employment was significantly associated with primary responsibility (p = 0.0023), recent publications (p < 0.0011), and short-term intent to remain in academia (p = 0.046). There was a statistically significant difference between age and satisfaction with professional development (p = 0.0411), achieving career objectives (p = 0.0151), well-being (p = 0.0492), access to resources for scholarly interests (p = 0.0114), communication (p = 0.0058), and assessment training (p = 0.0249). Non-Caucasian faculty reported greater dissatisfaction with being treated respectfully (p = 0.0302), departmental commitment to diversity and inclusion (p = 0.0075), and departmental cooperation/teamwork (p = 0.0323).

CONCLUSIONS: A significant number of junior faculty have interest in academic dental careers. Institutions should invest in improving onboarding and professional development. Improve the early experiences of faculty, and foster diversity and inclusion and faculty well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)804-813
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, Award Number UL1-TR002494. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. [Correction added on July 20, 2022 after online publication: Acknowledgments section was added.]

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Dental Education Association.


  • academic careers
  • dental faculty shortage
  • faculty academic environment
  • faculty affairs
  • faculty recruitment

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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