The impact of teaching in coordinated studies programs on personal, social, and professional development of community college faculty Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/h702q871h

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  • This study investigated the impact of team-teaching in coordinated-studies programs (CSPs) on community college faculty in three instructional development domains: personal, social, and professional. Grounded in a social-constructivist theoretical framework, this research examined whether development occurs best experientially, in collaborative communities of knowledgeable peers. CSPs are team-taught interdisciplinary, problem-solving enterprises involving two or more disciplines. Faculty control content and structure, and build relationships in subjects while focusing on a central theme, societal issue, or problem. Reform initiatives addressing community college instructional quality and institutional effectiveness have commanded national attention, contributing to an increase in faculty development programs. In spite of heightened emphasis, there is little evidence of program effectiveness. Moreover, successful models for improving teaching and learning are still not fully understood. Using phenomenologically based interviewing, the study determined how CSPs impacted development of 10 instructors from two community colleges in Washington State. Two interviews were conducted, one individually, the other with CSP teams. The index-coding system was an adaptation of a schema designed to assess improved performance in the three instructional development domains, within the first, second, and third facet. Data were analyzed using NUD*IST (Non-numerical Unstructured Data Indexing Searching and Theorizing), a qualitative software program. Team-teaching in CSPs advanced instructional development and did so more effectively than does traditional faculty development programs and self-directed development, participants stated. Additionally, authority in decisions regarding curriculum and instruction empowered faculty, improving morale and productivity. Another finding was that planning and instructing a course of study with intellectual comradeship improved pedagogical practices and produced intellectual insights. Four important implications for community colleges surfaced in assessment of the findings : (a) isolation - the condition found in solo teaching - is problematic, impacting faculty support and feedback, (b) CSPs recapture the scholarship and comradeship experienced in graduate school programs with discipline peers, (c) instructional development is a social act improving more effectively through team-teaching with knowledgeable peers, and (d) faculty experience revitalization and empowerment in CSPs, alleviating redundancy and boredom from teaching the same courses. The CSP framework allows for self-direction, spontaneity, and freedom from the barriers and restrictions experienced in traditional courses.
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