Capable, Contributing, and Connected: New Professors Find Support Through a Peer Learning Community


  • Linda J. Searby University of Alabama at Birmingham Author
  • Nataliya V. Ivankova University of Alabama at Birmingham Author
  • Melanie L. Shores University of Alabama at Birmingham Author


The authors describe and evaluate the first year of a professional learning community initiated by non-tenured faculty at a Research I university in the southeastern United States. The program, called Support Network for Assistant Professors (S.N.A.P.), offered structured peer support to junior faculty at various stages of earning tenure. The assistant professors met monthly with the goals of becoming more capable, contributing, and connected. A conceptual framework for the peer learning community is established in the article. Results from the first year evaluation of the program showed growth in faculty scholarly productivity, increased confidence, mutual support, and appreciation from administrators and senior faculty. Recommendations are given for others interested in forming a professional learning community for higher education junior faculty.