Dissertation Abstract

Activities Used by Community College Faculty to Maintain Discipline Currency: Identification and Influencing Factors

Publication Number:  AAT3173180
Author:  Mounfield, Luegina Adaline Carter
School:  University of South Carolina
Date:  2005
Pages:  141
Subject:  School Administration, Community Colleges

This study identified professional development activities used by full-time, career programs faculty to maintain their currency within their disciplines while teaching at a community college and determined if these activities varied by selected discipline and employment factors. The employment factors were length of teaching service, current employment in the field, and length of prior employment in the field.

With rapidly changing technology within disciplines, it is critical for faculty to be able to reflect and continually self-assess their needs for professional development. Because disciplines are so varied, this research looked at two groups of community college faculty those in radiologic technology and those in accounting. The full-time faculty were selected from colleges that had recently been reaccredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JCERT) or Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

A survey developed using the Flashlight Online Tool from Washington State University was administered via the Internet. There was a 45.6 percent return rate. The data were analyzed using regression analysis. Those results, together with frequencies, percentages, and means for the discipline-specific groups and the combined group, were presented. The hypotheses related to the interaction of discipline and employment factors were rejected based on the results of the data analysis with a significant level at p < .05. The hypothesis testing only discipline was inconclusive. The most commonly used activity was reading a journal article. The results from the qualitative part of this study indicated the need for professional development funding and offering activities that were accessible and credible. Reading journal articles, using an electronic search, and attending conferences, workshops and seminars were the three activities that faculty indicated contributed most to their learning and maintaining technical competency. Faculty used class relevance as the deciding factor for "critical to know" when sifting through new technical information. Funding professional development and travel was listed by the faculty most often as the one thing their community colleges could do to assist them in maintaining technical currency.

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