Community college faculty-to-faculty influence Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/bk128f21q

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  • As community colleges have responded to shifts in funding structures, demands from an aging population, the emergence of for-profit competitors, the development of globalization, and the increasing use of technology, the role of faculty has evolved and new leadership opportunities have emerged. This study examines informal faculty leadership at a larger-sized Oregon community college. Informal leadership is conceptualized as a faculty member (not in a leadership position) who influences another faculty member. Interviews with 16 faculty members were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for dominant themes. Four major themes emerged: how strong ties develop between faculty; the impact of office location in developing relationships with other faculty; the phenomenon of faculty role models; and how e-mail communication influences faculty. When faculty share similar interests and values, strong ties develop. Faculty are influenced by colleagues who are identified as a strong tie relationship. The proximate location of offices appears to promote the development of strong ties: many faculty who develop strong tie relationships report having co-located offices. Fewer than half of the interviewees identified role models, and most of these (five out of seven) were faculty with four to ten years of teaching experience at the study site. Participants reported that role models were admired because of their social skills, teaching experience and positive personality traits. E-mail communication was the final theme that emerged as a factor in how faculty were influenced by other faculty. The impact of the influence was difficult to discern because of the wide variance in how e-mail messages are selected to be read by the receiver. Findings in this study did indicate that faculty reported being influenced by other faculty in a variety of ways: through their strong tie relationships with other faculty, by proximate locations to other faculty, through observing role models and by reading e-mail communications from other faculty.
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