Assessment of Professional Development Activities, Instructional Needs, and Delivery Methods of Part-Time Technical and Occupational Faculty in U. S. Community Colleges

Publication January 2004

This study was designed to describe the frequency of professional development activities provided to part-time occupational and technical program faculty. Additionally, the perceptions of occupational education officers concerning the instructional professional development needs and their appropriate delivery method(s) for these faculty members within the community colleges in the United States were identified. Concerning the factors related to the amount of professional development activities provided to part-time faculty members, introduction to the policies and procedures of the college and/or department, introduction to other college faculty/staff, orientation to the course/classroom, and help in meeting administrative requirements were found to occur at least once a quarter or semester. Staff assistance at the program, division, or institutional level was shown to be the most common method of meeting the part-time faculty professional development needs by the respondents’ community colleges. The types of professional development help part-time faculty members were perceived to need most were concentrated in the following areas: (a) identifying the learning characteristics of students, (b) alternating teaching methods to accommodate different learning styles, © participation in web-based instruction, and (d) participation in distance learning. Information addressing the ways in which professional development should be delivered to part-time faculty indicated that they were perceived to be willing to participate in at least 1 activity per semester or quarter. Seminar discussions, group classroom activities, and computer-assisted instruction or multimedia interaction were perceived as the preferred ways part-time faculty would most like to learn. An evening/night format was stipulated as the best time of day, and the fall was indicated as the best time of year for providing professional development activities. Concerning the types of compensation that should be provided to part-time faculty for participation in professional development activities, per diem and travel expenses was selected as the most important, with personal growth being second. Other job commitments, travel distance, remuneration issues, personal motivation, and teaching experience or inexperience were also found to be factors that might interfere with part-time faculty member participation in professional development activities. 

Sanford, B., & McCaslin, N. L. (2004). Assessment of professional development activities, instructional needs, and delivery methods of part-time technical and occupational faculty in U.S. community colleges. St. Paul, MN: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, University of Minnesota.

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