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A mixed method study of new, full -time occupational faculty members in a midwest state: How they learned about the teaching /learning process

Deborah K Brennan, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this mixed method study was to determine how new, full-time occupational faculty members at community colleges in a Midwest state learned about the teaching/learning process and what expectations they had for teacher training to be provided by their institution. The quantitative portion of the study examined specifically what methods they used to learn about the teaching/learning process and what formal teacher training preparation was expected and available to them. The qualitative portion of the study further examined the ways they learned about the teaching/learning process. ^ A researcher developed survey collected data on the new faculty members' expectations for training. There were significant differences between the expectations for receiving and the actual training received in the areas of classroom instruction, curriculum development, developing philosophy of teaching, writing a course syllabus, preparing course materials, writing tests, evaluating student performance on tests, assessing test effectiveness, and advising program majors. ^ The new faculty members, who received training in educational theories and teaching methods and course management, generally perceived the training as positive and beneficial. Twenty percent of the respondents were assigned a faculty mentor and they considered the experience somewhat positive. New faculty orientation was provided to 54 or 96.43 percent of the respondents and they considered the orientation a positive experience. ^ Two themes were identified—faculty members learned about the teaching/learning process in informal ways and formal ways. Informally, they learned from veteran teachers, others at their institutions, and by modeling former teachers, how to identify needed changes, made changes, gained confidence, reacted to changes in their environments, and to be advisors. They used their previous experiences to promote teaching excellence. They were confounded by the bureaucracy at their institutions. ^ Formally, two of the community colleges provided training through in-services, workshops, institutes, and by requiring professional development plans for faculty members. Two-thirds of the interview informants reported having no formal training provided. The new faculty members identified areas in which they needed training including: procedures/processes, educational theories and teaching methods, and course management. They suggested the training be conducted apart from the school day and away from the institution. ^

Subject Area

Education, Community College|Education, Administration|Education, Teacher Training

Recommended Citation

Brennan, Deborah K, "A mixed method study of new, full -time occupational faculty members in a midwest state: How they learned about the teaching /learning process" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3152600.