Technical College Faculty Interpretations of Professional Development on Intended Instructional Strategies
Davis, Michelle L.
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Background: Faculty who teach in technical colleges are considered content experts, but may lack teaching experience in the college classroom. The Center for Community College Student Engagement conducted a nationwide survey of community and technical colleges and found that students participating in active and collaborative learning activities experience higher levels of engagement in the classroom and higher levels of success. It may be necessary to provide professional development for technical college faculty to improve active and collaborative learning in the classroom. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore technical college faculty’s interpretations of scholarly teaching and examine their intentions to alter classroom teaching in future semesters after participation in a professional development program called Scholar to Scholar. Methods: Six faculty members of a small technical college (STC) located in Texas participated in Scholar to Scholar. This qualitative study used Carspecken’s three-stage method of critical ethnography: 1.) compile the primary record through monological data, 2.) preliminary reconstructive analysis, and 3.) dialogical data generation. Questionnaires, classroom and Scholar to Scholar program observations, and interviews of participants were collected and coded for themes. Results: Faculty participating in the Scholar to Scholar program shared that they intend to use the information learned in the professional development sessions to improve the instructional strategies in their classroom but in varying degrees. The results of this study may assist faculty developers and technical college administrators in implementing effective professional development for faculty, especially for those who lack teaching experience. Conclusion: Faculty members teaching in technical colleges i professional development related to teaching to make them aware of instructional strategies that engage students in the classroom. Contributions to the literature, limitations, recommendations for future Scholar to Scholar programs, and recommendations for future research are included in this study.