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California Community College Faculty: Perceptions Regarding Running for Academic Senate President


Faculty involvement in institutional governance has come to represent the norm within higher educational institutions. Community college faculty members' role in institutional governance has not been the major focus for studies. Currently, faculty members from Liberal Arts (LAC) programs represent about 70 percent of the faculty in California community colleges; they also represent the largest percentage (88) of academic senate presidents. By comparison, approximately 30 percent of Career and Technical Education (CTE) faculty represent only 12 percent of the academic senate presidents in 2012. This study identified and explored the differences between LAC and CTE faculty perceptions of their values and roles regarding their involvement in the academic senate and shared governance process at their institutions. In addition, the study also identified and explored the notable differences and similarities between LAC and CTE disciplined full-time faculty member's perceptions of incentives and disincentives regarding running for Academic Senate president.

The qualitative research design was used to interview and study Liberal Arts (LAC) and Career Technical Education (CTE) full-time tenured and tenured-track California community college faculty members at two community colleges located in one Southern California college district. The researcher discovered that the majority of the CTE participants did not feel as though the academic senate or college valued their discipline or discipline expertise. In stark contrast, the majority of LAC participants did believe that the academic senate and college valued their discipline and discipline expertise. The study identified that LAC and CTE participants share more similarities when it comes to the identification and perception of disincentives. Although LAC and CTE participants identified the same incentives, they had differing perceptions of the exact meaning or motivation behind them. More research is needed in this area of study if community colleges want to continue to have faculty from all representative disciplines participate in shared governance at their colleges. If these areas are not thoroughly explored, there will be a continued lack of participation from faculty, especially CTE faculty.

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