Faculty and Instruction at Community Colleges

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Faculty at community colleges shape the selection, design, and implementation of the curriculum and instructional practices. While faculty shape curriculum and instruction, the community college workplace with its culture, attitudes, rules and requirements in turn shapes faculty approaches to curriculum and instruction. Faculty serve as the hub for communication between their colleagues, as well as between students, administrators, and staff. Faculty at community colleges experience a greater focus and emphasis on teaching as their primary responsibility, with little pressure to publish or conduct research. Although committed to their academic disciplines, faculty at community colleges have more traditionally viewed their role as a calling to help others develop an understanding of their discipline for the betterment of the individual and the contribution to a more educated society.

While the characteristics of faculty are unique to each community college and the region they serve, community college faculty demographics differ from faculty in other levels of instruction. In 2009, community college faculty in general were 54% female, 22% minority populations, had an approximate median age of fifty, and 70% were part-time employees (Cohen, Brawer, & Kisker, 2013, p. 82-83). In general, the majority of community college faculty hold a master’s degree or equivalent experience if they work in the occupational or workforce related areas. However, in 2003, 19% of community college faculty held a doctorate degree.

Faculty workload for full-time faculty at community colleges is customarily four or five classes each term resulting in 13-17 contact hours per week as the standard although it may be as much as 30 contact hours per week dep...

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...heir own learning experiences for both what worked and didn’t work to explain their instructional practices; a review of the student experience and what they are learning when various instructional methods are utilized; a review of the practices and assumptions of colleagues for collective problem solving and for emotional support; and a review of theoretical literature to validate that the issues they confront in their own classroom are not unique and to identify possible solutions for those issues (Brookfield, 2012). As faculty invest time and energy in thoughtful examination of how and why they employ particular teaching methods over others and in careful review of data associated with key instructional performance measures, they will move towards informed decisions for continuous improvement of instruction and, ultimately, student learning.

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