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Building Community and Capacity: Institutionalized Faculty Development in Community Colleges

  • Author(s): Krug, Jessica
  • Advisor(s): Rhoads, Robert A.
  • et al.
Abstract

Based on the presumptions that faculty are critical to student success and that faculty in the community college sector are largely underprepared to serve the diversity of students they encounter, this study sought to examine how community colleges create and sustain their faculty development programs. The faculty development programs selected for this study have high participation of faculty across disciplines, including both adjunct and full-time faculty, and are permanent fixtures on their campuses instead of relying on grant funding or other temporary sources of funding that could eventually be phased out. Further, institutions in this study are improving student outcomes across their campuses, particularly of low-income students and students of color. Utilizing a multi-case study design based on semi-structured interviews, document analysis and observations of public spaces, this study looked holistically and in-depth at institutionalized faculty development programs at three community colleges across the country: Bradley Community College, Pomelo College and High Hill College, all pseudonyms. Some critical findings of this study include the nature of leadership that facilitated institutionalizing these programs, the role of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at each site, and the centrality of pedagogy. At all three sites, faculty and administrative leaders converged to create their faculty development programs. Critical administrative leaders in charge of faculty development began as faculty members, and they helped shepherd their respective programs to institutionalization as they moved into administration. Further, the CTLs at all three sites act as nexus points between authentic faculty needs and institutional priorities. All strategic initiatives are executed with the support of the CTLs; they are the facilitators of change. While each CTL still uses various grants from state, federal, local and foundation sources, the CTL staff and spaces have been institutionalized. Finally, all faculty development activities start with good instruction; whether the topic is high-impact practices, equity, guided pathways or global learning, the CTL focus is on what those ideas look like (or should look like) in a classroom. All three sites in this study are willing to invest in supports for the faculty, both adjunct and full-time, to help them become better instructors.

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