Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics > Starting Point: Economics in Two-Year Colleges > Discussions: Outreach to 2YC Faculty Across the Disciplines > Pre-workshop discussion

Pre-workshop discussion

« Outreach to Community College Faculty Across the Disciplines

Pre-workshop discussion  

Based on your review of other disciplines at the web page ,which projects are most intriguing for possible use in your discipline? You might first identify your own discipline.


Share edittextuser=965 post_id=14523 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

This post was editted by Phuoc Huynh on Mar, 2nd
Dear All,

I like this Biology project very much:

It fosters an active learning environment for BIO teachers...


Share edittextuser=4254 post_id=14524 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201


I liked John's biology project as well.

I also liked Math's webinar and traveling workshops.

Physics has a nice new faculty experience.

Steve (economics)


Share edittextuser=4522 post_id=14538 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

The physics "new faculty experience" is at Thanks, Steve, for pointing it out.


Share edittextuser=965 post_id=14539 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Hi, my name is Greg Pratt and I teach economics.

This archive is a wonderful and eclectic collection of resources.

I found the link in Geosciences (scroll down to - Teach the Earth - to be an amazing model of organization and resources that echoes what I have found at the National Council for Economic Education and Foundation for Teaching Economics sites (I posted these 2 resources with additional economic education material in a separate thread).

The organization of this set of materials, as I indicated, faciliated both the review of material and the use of material.

Under the section Teaching Activities and Courses I found

1. The list of teaching activities to be comprehensive and very usefully organized - by topic and within each topic by activity and/or assessment. This again is parallel to Virtual Economics, a resource provided by the NCEE and lacks only a cross reference to standards at either the state or national level. This may be due to the fact that the audience is higher education, although I might argue that those of us in higher education could profitably integrate the use of content standards into our instruction. At my institution we have begun this effort by working with our high school colleagues and the state department of Education as well as our district curriulum staff.

2. Math You Need - as those of use who teach economics have come to find, there are a number of deficiencies in the quantitative area - both on the curriculum and instruction end and on the part of incoming learners. Regardless of one's view on the expansion of math in the discipline, instruction and resources, I found this geosciences link to be clear, useful and a model for what we might consider as a discipline to address the growing issue of lack of preparation in math by incoming students and the increasing use of math for economics instruction. This dynamic is a paradox to me, but a reality that we all need to reflect on in our philosophy of teaching and instructional design.

The Professional Development Resources link was impressive as well. The link to the National Association of Geoscience Teachers is a model that economics faculty might find useful for linking to high school and higher education associations like the one in which we are currently participating. Within this area of the site the Resources for Teaching Introductory Level Courses is another example of a valuable archive to assist in building a set of resources that can be used to disseminate best practices teaching.

Last but not least in this excellent site - Popular Topics for Two-Year College Education

I think that this type of approach offers exciting possibilities for economics instruction. In my separate thread posting on economics resources I mentioned the FTE and one of the course/topics over there is the Economics of Disasters. This is a topic that will always be current - think of the current Mississippi flooding and, in the recent past, Haiti, Katrina, etc.


Share edittextuser=4528 post_id=14545 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

My name is Katie Townsend-Merino and I teach psychology. I would particularly like to emulate the work that has been done in economics thus far. I do believe that providing specific examples of the implementation of new pedogogy (alongside any evidence that that pedogogy improves learning) is the best way to support both innovation and the support for trying something new. That said, I also really like the Three-Day Thematic Workshops developed by the historians.


Share edittextuser=3540 post_id=14546 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

I'm Bruce Yoshiwara (math, Los Angeles Pierce College). I'm intrigued by the physics blog
What are the guidelines for the blog--how were the authors chosen, are their posts vetted before posting, are there regularly scheduled posts, ...?


Share edittextuser=5025 post_id=14549 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Perhaps I should have mentioned that the two-year college math organization, AMATYC, has an appointed volunteer who maintains AMATYC's Facebook and Twitter presence. She receives input from AMATYC's (volunteer) professional development coordinator and from her (volunteer) exec board liaison, but she posts at her own discretion about webinars, the annual conference, and AMATYC publication. The organization has started to consider the feasibility of hiring a staff person to handle those and other web-related duties.


Share edittextuser=5025 post_id=14550 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Hi,Amber Casolari here. I was interested to find out that the American Sociologic Association has a section on teaching and learning at their annual conference and "every three years, the chair of this section is required to be from a community college". It seems that the 2 year institutions have some input, even if it is only every 3 years. I wonder if they have willing chairs?


Share edittextuser=3525 post_id=14551 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Scott Simkins (Economics), part of the Advisory Group for this project and co-PI with Mark Maier and KimMarie McGoldrick on the development of this Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics site:

Thank you all for your posts to date. Along with the participants, I am finding the suggestions and examples to be quite rich and informative. The cross-disciplinary nature of this workshop underscores our foundational belief that through open-sharing of best practices, discipline-based educational research, and ideas we all gain. That is, we believe that "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts" - a view consistent with Mary Huber and Pat Hutchings' "The Advancement of Learning: Building the Teaching Commons"(Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching).

Please continue to keep posting new ideas and resources here over the next two weeks leading up to the workshop in Palo Alto. The challenge will be how to determine a priority listing of projects, workshops, resources that will be most beneficial to economics instructors at two-year colleges and how projects developed for other disciplines can be adapted for economics. Here are a couple of questions:

1. Are the challenges faced by instructors at two-year colleges discipline-specific or common in nature? What is the overlap across disciplines?

2. What is most beneficial - cutting edge content (see the Geosciences resources at SERC, pedagogical innovation resources, activities that can be used in courses or as supplements to courses, social/professional networking resources (such as blogs), or some combination of the above?

3. What is most likely to promote change in teaching behavior among your colleagues? "Build it and They'll Come" is generally not a sustainable model by itself - what else is needed?

Again, thanks for your engagement and I look forward to seeing all of you in a couple of weeks!


Share edittextuser=1021 post_id=14557 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

This post was editted by Izaak Sunleaf on Jul, 2013
1. I believe that there are significant discipline-specific challenges, but we certainly can gain from many cross discipline interaction.

By the way, Coastline Community College in southern California posted rubrics to assess the quality of all their classes in all disciplines. There are three rubrics: one for in-class courses, one for online courses, and one for telecourses. The quality levels are Basic, Effective, and Exemplary.
The instructor on the cover of this report is Fred Feldon, chair of the Coastline CC math department. Every math course in their catalog is offered in an online version, and 85% of the math classes are distance courses. Most of these are true distance courses--Coastline has a huge number of students in the military and a significant
population of students who are incarcerated.


Share edittextuser=5025 post_id=14558 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Bruce - Thanks for passing this along! This is great! Are there other similar rubrics that any of you are aware of?

Note: There are other rubrics out there for online courses, most notably the comprehensive Quality Matters rubric but that rubric is available only with a $1500 to $3000 "subscription" [although many of the underlying elements are included in the "QM Matrix of Research Standards" paper linked at the bottom of the web page linked above].

The rubric you linked to could be the foundation for discipline-specific courses (e.g. within a department) that might add additional discipline-specific criteria linked to program-level student learning outcomes (SLOs) that might address discipline-specific outcomes (e.g. SLO - Students should be able to apply economic concepts and principles using a variety of representations (verbal, graphical, mathematical), at increasingly higher cognitive levels throughout the curriculum). Perhaps 4.1 through 4.4 in the "In-Class Courses" rubric covers this well enough.


Share edittextuser=1021 post_id=14562 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

This post was editted by Phuoc Huynh on Nov, 2016
Hello All- Rochelle Ruffer (Economics)

After reviewing the Starting Point site, but before reading your posts, I had some observations. I was specifically impressed when there were collaborations across two-year and four-year faculty. I think that creating a bridge is probably important for the field. For example, over 1/4 of the faculty who attend American Society for Microbiology meetings were community college faculty (I wonder if they specifically market to CC faculty?). In Chemistry, ChemEd Bridges seems to be an NSF funded project that provides support for CC faculty to attend annual meetings. It seems to me that it would be helpful to have collaboration across all. I know this happens already to a certain extent in Economics at our annual AEA meetings - especially perhaps in the poster sessions on teaching, but not as much as maybe it could/should.

Like John (#2 post) and Steven (#3 post), I too was very interested in the C3 project in Biology. I was also fascinated by "On the Cutting Edge" in Geology ( that provides workshops for graduate students and postdocs. To my knowledge, Economics doesn't have anything formal like this specifically addressed to those incoming faculty who are going to be going out to teach formally for the first time!

I was also intrigued by the Associations such as American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC), Commitee on Physics in Two Year Colleges (CPTYC) and American Psychological Association of Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges (PT@CC). These organizations provide resources to community college faculty through workshops, meetings, etc.

Those were my initial observations, but I am also really interested in the concept of the Physics blog that Bruce posted (#7 above) and thank Greg (#5 above) for posting the detail from the Geosciences website -- quite impressive!!

I do agree with Scott (#10 above) that we will have to think hard about how to best promote change. The delivery and how to "get them to come" will be so important. I don't have any answers this afternoon, but look forward to our conversations and hearing what else others have to say.


Share edittextuser=2389 post_id=14566 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

I am Nisha Aroskar and I teach economics at a community college.
I liked the Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology. It is a searchable database of pear reviewed resources. TRAILS subscribers can submit their teaching innovations and it also provides citations. It is fully funded by ASA.
I also like geosciences Teach the Earth portal for resources aimed at the two year community college faculty.
Biology’s Cyberlearning at community colleges provides a common forum to two year college community.
Going though all the links for these disciplines, I realized that almost all them have a common forum and teaching resources specifically aimed to the community college faculty. Do we have anything like that for Economics? I would love to have similar resources. I am familiar with some of the resources (not all) Greg Pratt has posted. Thanks Greg. But I still feel that we need something like TRAILS or Teach the Earth portal. I hope that Starting Point can develop into such a resource.


Share edittextuser=4601 post_id=14567 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

This post was editted by Jacob Spear on Aug, 2014
I teach economics at a community college. The many resources already posted here would be great to have in Econ.

I found this presentation about peer mentors who run out-of-class study sessions through the Geosciences link: It seems like this sort of thing could help some of my students who need the extra instructional time, even if it is just a “study group” type of experience. In grad school, I remember working as a graduate/teaching assistant helping undergraduate students with their classes-- an hour a week for each section of students. (Where I work now, I did at one point have the opportunity to hire a past student to do this, but funding was a problem.) Not sure if others would agree, but it seems, due to the increased diversity of backgrounds, a good number of community college students could use the extra support, regardless of the subject being taught.

To Scott’s 3rd question, I saw different ways to encourage faculty who devote their time to pedagogy. There were various awards given for teaching and opportunities to publish peer-reviewed teaching related material. I could see those incentives helping. And as already mentioned earlier, the efforts by national organizations to study and promote teaching at 2-year colleges could also help. (Here are some misc. products of those efforts:,,


Share edittextuser=4523 post_id=14571 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

This post was editted by Phuoc Huynh on Dec, 2016
Hi - this is Dayle Mandelson, retired econ. prof. from a comprehensive institution in the Univ. of WI system.

I've enjoyed reading all of the posts so far; they contain a lot of valuable information.

My interest in effective pedagogy led me to resources that build on psychological research. In "Practice for Knowledge Acquisition (Not Drill and Kill)" there are teachers' modules for various aspects of "practice" which have been shown to be effective in increasing students' learning (by the way, just in time teaching is included). This is located at the APA site:

I hope this isn't too trivial, but after conducting six years worth of workshops for teaching K-14 economics, I've found that the quicker we can create a community in the classroom, the safer everyone feels in contributing to the learning that can take place. At the site of the Office of Teaching Resources in Psychology (Society for the Teaching of Psychology), there are some classroom tips. Among them is a useful article on content related "ice-breakers" and "parting ways." It's at:

See you all next week.


Share edittextuser=4536 post_id=14572 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Dayle: Thanks for the APA link!

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (although focusing on developmental math) also is looking at factors for effective teaching and learning.

I blogged about a couple of videos at and gave links to resources.

David Yeager's video is a half-hour long (but the blog specifies where to find some highlights). Stigler's video is 41 minutes; it focuses on a subtle idea that is important for anyone seeking to improve U.S. education: teaching is a cultural activity.


Share edittextuser=5025 post_id=14574 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Dayle (post #16) - Nice APA link; I didn't know about this. For those not familiar with it, How People Learn is a valuable summary of key learning sciences principles from the past 30 years or so (expert/novice learning, misconceptions, the role of formative assessment, metacognition, transfer, etc.). While not as directly practical as Dayle's APA link above, it provides a useful overview of important concepts that are central to learning and is a key reference for places like the National Science Foundation, etc.

How People Learn (read for free online)

How People Learn podcast

How Students Learn:
History, Mathematics, and Science in the Classroom
(applications of How People Learn)


Share edittextuser=1021 post_id=14575 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

A common frustration for those of us disseminating information about pedagogical innovation within or across disciplines is the lack of uptake on effective teaching practices by our colleagues, often in spite of (perhaps compelling) evidence that changing teaching practices would likely improve student learning.

Dissemination is clearly not sufficient for widespread diffusion of new teaching practices. Why is that? In addition to sharing ideas about making teaching/learning resources available more widely, we also need to consider the issue of "what will lead to behavioral (teaching) changes in the classroom (or online)"? This is an issue of increasing research interest to me, both as an economic education researcher and as a director of a university teaching and learning center.

For some interesting research on this topic from physics education research, see the publications link on the Promoting Reform in College Physics Instruction site by Melissa Dancy, Charles Henderson, and Chandra Turpen:


Share edittextuser=1021 post_id=14576 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

I'm always amazed at how Physics seems to be in the lead on these interesting educational topics. There appears to be a plethora of research on this topic. ... interesting!

Thanks to Dayle and Bruce for those interesting links. I find myself doing a fun experiment on day two of my principles class and the students do seem to bond well over the silly example of running up and down the hall. It's helpful to have links to ice breakers. Thanks.


Share edittextuser=2389 post_id=14578 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Hi all,

I am Donna Duffy, a psychology professor at Middlesex Community College in Bedford and Lowell, MA, the coordinator of the scholarship of teaching and learning work on campus, and one of the founding members of APA's Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges. It has been energizing to read over the thoughtful comments in this discussion and I look forward to meeting all of you soon.

I have thought a lot about the issue Scott raises regarding ways to promote changes in teaching behavior and Dayle's comment about the importance of creating a community in the classroom. Recent work in positive psychology and appreciative inquiry suggests that focusing on what people value about their work along with having a community that supports risks are two strategies that can sustain change. I think that the Starting Point project is an excellent approach both for capturing meaning and showing different ways that disciplinary communities support risk taking.

It is wonderful to have a wide range of resources but it can seem overwhelming to navigate at times. I think one of the issues worth considering is how to present material in a way that will be easy for practioners who have limited time. The teaching of psychology group has set up a matrix with top picks in a range of areas. The matrix approach is easy to follow:

The APA has another helpful assessment cyberguide for quickly reviewing different assessment approaches. There is a matrix on page 28 that suggests which type of assessment is optimal for assessing different types of learning outcomes. People may disagree about what is optimal but the format is an easy way to figure out options:

One of the positive aspects of evidence-based practice in clinical work in psychology is having certain practices that fit more effectively with specific types of problems. I wonder if we could figure out something similar for educational issues in our community college classrooms. For example, certain introductory exercises may be effective in all disciplines for creating a community in a classroom in the early weeks while other activities might be more specific for teaching specific concepts in a particular discipline midway through the semester.

No easy answers for any of us, but I am honored to have the opportunity to explore ideas with all of you soon.



Share edittextuser=4802 post_id=14579 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

I definitely agree a culture that supports faculty who try new ways of teaching is very helpful. Comparing my recent experience teaching at a few different institutions, features of institutions that were supportive (e.g. workshops on pedagogy, well-staffed pedagogy consultants, resources like a faculty book collections on pedagogy) made me trying new teaching techniques out more "satisfying." I wonder who would be best to lead that change in culture? AEA? Faculty (associations/unions/senates)? Each college's president? Employers? Celebrities? US Dept. of Ed? Students? (Except for maybe the last few, it seems like the more the better.)

I found this catalog of intra-institutional efforts to improve student reasoning interesting:

Also, I wanted to mention that for links to work in this discussion forum, a period appended to the end of links sends my web browser to the wrong web pages.

Below are Dayle's links without the periods at the end: (Thank you so much for this. Am hoping it will help my job of encouraging student interaction with one another easier.)


Share edittextuser=4523 post_id=14580 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

This post was editted by Phuoc Huynh on Nov, 2016

Thanks for your contributions to the discussion. One of the challenges of the SERC resources is that they are spread across so many different projects that it is sometimes difficult to find things, hence the need to knit those resources together in some coherent way (Starting Point, two-year college outreach across the disciplines, Cutting Edge, etc.). At the same time, there is some joy in finding a heretofore hidden gem once in a while...

I really like the "teaching of psychology group" matrix that you linked to. This is an idea that came up at our first module development workshop for the Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics site and something that we need to complete - a kind of guide to what's in Starting Point, ordered in different ways that are useful to instructors (e.g. pedagogies useful in large classes, inquiry-focused, etc.). Your matrix help us think through the kind of "guide" that would be most useful to instructors who have limited time to look through the modules and examples but have a pressing classroom need.

With respect to assessment, I think it's wonderful when disciplinary associations take the initiative to develop broad disciplinary assessment tools, along with guidance on how to use those tools. Having a well-refined set of student learning outcomes and assessment processes, for example, is incredibly valuable for instructors who may not have ever been introduced to these ideas/processes before. It also allows instructors and departments to think about what the most important learning goals/objectives are for THEIR students and how this relates to the discipline as a whole.

Interestingly, the American Economic Association is quite different from, say, the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Psychological Association, and the American Sociological Association in terms of providing an imprimatur for teaching-related resources or taking a particular stand on teaching/learning issues. According to the bylaws of the American Economic Association: "The Association as such will take no partisan attitude, nor will it commit its members to any position on practical economic questions." This has generally been interpreted as not taking a stand on "particular" pedagogical practices, even broadly defined, although the Committee on Economic Education (CEE) of the AEA (a standing committee of the American Economic Association that has been in existence in one form or another since 1955) has as its mission "to improve the quality of economics education at all levels: pre-college, college, adult, and general education." The CEE has sponsored numerous national teaching workshops over the years, with support from the AEA, but you will not see an AEA-sponsored web site, for example, that is similar to TRAILS [sociology] or COMPADRE [physics]. So that is a challenge for developing disciplinary support in economics that is different from a number of other disciplinary associations.


American Economic Association by-laws




Share edittextuser=1021 post_id=14584 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

I wish this discussion would make it possible to respond to individual posts. I tried to take notes on the various discussions I would like to comment on but of course this is what happens when you wait to respond. I teach on the quarter system and we are really busy the last month of May and first two weeks of June. I really think discussing Faculty Development in the Cloud so to speak is a good approach. I like the Biology approach with Cyberlearning and currently I am working on a regional project to help do some of this work on using simulations in the social sciences.

I really struggle with teaching resources not being open access. For example, in my own discipline, sociology, we are not charging an access fee of $100 a year to access teaching materials. I seriously find this problematic given the large numbers of adjunct faculty teaching at community colleges.

I also think the lack of discussion concerning the adjunct faculty issue in our disciplines is troubling. The adjunct faculty issues clearly indicates the importance of good faculty development and open educational resources for all faculty.

I am so looking forward to meeting everyone and discussing these ideas. I so appreciate the information for each discipline.

I also appreciated re-reading Mary Huber's article. As much as I think two-year/four-year collaborations are important, I also see the need for separate opportunities for community college faculty to talk about teaching.


Share edittextuser=2892 post_id=14586 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

I noted a question about ASA section on teaching and learning having a 2 year faculty as chair and yes there are willing chairs every time. Currently there are about 350 community college faculty that belong to ASA (very small by the way) but they are very active in the TEaching and Learning Section.

However, we do have journal called Teaching Sociology and I did a content analysis of it. Very few community college faculty publish in our teaching journal.

Another issue that I have with disciplinary associations is the cost of membership for community college faculty. I think this is problematic.


Share edittextuser=2892 post_id=14587 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Katherine (post #24) mentioned an article by Mary Huber... Which article? Perhaps I missed this in an earlier post or on the workshop site.


Share edittextuser=1021 post_id=14591 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Mary Huber's article is listed on this site's web page at:

The article is at:

Mary will join us on Wednesday.


Share edittextuser=965 post_id=14594 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Gail (economics, community college)

In response to Scott's question: are the challenges facing faculty at 2-year colleges unique? I think that the answer is both yes and no. As I read through the discipline-specific materials on the site, there is some commonality across disciplines. Community college faculty are more isolated than faculty members at larger schools. While I am lucky enough to teach in a department with 5 full-time econ faculty, our situation is unique. Most econ faculty at community colleges do not have daily contact with another economist, are required to teach 15-18 hours per semester, do not have travel budgets, and don't have administrators who think that professional development within the discipline is important because the discipline hasn't changed. I think that this makes their situation unique, and makes it difficult to reach out to them.

I also believe that we serve a different group of students than many of those at universities. They tend to be less prepared to be students, and this presents unique problems. On the other hand, my classes never exceed 35.

I think that teach-econ (listserv) probably helped me to keep my sanity when I taught as the sole econ faculty in a business department at a small liberal arts college. As a result of this experience, I think that one important resource for spreading information and promoting change is the listserve. I think that the feeling of being part of a community that grows around these discussions is much more conducive to promoting behavior changes than static resources.

I also think that building connections between community college faculty and transfer institutions would help. The sociology site discussed the perception that cc faculty are "less than." I believe that same perception exists in economics. If cc faculty felt more welcome within the profession, they might make more effort to become part of regional and national meetings, or to take advantage of professional development activities. If cc faculty increased their participation in regional meetings, this also would open opportunities for community college faculty, typically isolated from one another, to meet together. Perhaps, the AEA needs a committe on the status of 2y college faculty.


Share edittextuser=4596 post_id=14595 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

This post was editted by Phuoc Huynh on Mar, 2nd
Hi Everyone, I'm James, Economics, medium-sized suburban community college just south of Seattle.

It's been great to review the materials from the different disciplines and to read the discussion in the posts. I'd agree on many of the "likes" cited above - Biology C3, Chemistry 2YC3 workshops, Geosciences NAGT Cutting Edge, Psychology ToPIX, Sociology TRAILS, etc.

I'd also like to highlight several links that were interesting to me in different areas

* Workshops *

From Biology, I liked the HAPS 2011 C3 Victoria BC meeting "Topics and Skills" list ( ) as an example of what a workshop would be seeking to achieve
* strategies for teaching and learning biology in an information rich world;
* integrating media literacy into biology assignments;
* promoting peer interactions within a scientific framework;
* creating and implementing assignments that produce digital legacies; and,
* empowering students to make choices and invest in their learning.

From English I liked the mix of "possible topics" listed by the Pacific Northwest TYCA for their annual conference in 2009
* Student-teacher relations
* Multi-media classrooms and writing
* Retention, persistence, and success
* Elearning
* The "professionalization" of comp/rhet
* Media culture, technoculture, and writing/reading
* Ideas of writing programs
* Classroom, program, and college-wide assessment
* Visual media, rhetoric, and writing
* Hypertext (fiction and poetry)
* Labor and pedagogy
* Graduate school preparation
* Theories/theorists on writing and literature

From Mathematics, I liked the collegiality emphasis of the workshop "Improving College Mathematics Teaching Through Faculty Development" and I wondered if there would be interest in getting feedback from instructors from outside one's own institution.

From Physics, I liked the expectations for participants of the ATE project workshops, especially the idea of stronger connections to business, industry, and professional physicists
* build and enhance their understanding and appreciation of the needs of students, educational programs, business and industry, and the workforce in areas dealing with physics and technology;
* provide them with knowledge of and experience with recent advances and applications of computer technology, ATE supported centers and projects, assessment in student learning, and relevant curriculum materials and activities;
* allow them the opportunity to identify and evaluate the appropriateness of the workshop ideas in meeting the needs of their students and programs;
* provide them with the background and incentive to develop, adapt, adopt, and implement workshop activities and materials into their physics courses and programs;
* impact student learning in physics and workforce related applications; and provide them ways and ideas for building bridges and developing working relationships between TYC and HS physics and technology programs, and local or regional businesses and industries.

* Online resources *

From Geosciences, I liked the NAGT cutting edge resources categories as a structure
Managing your career
Enhancing your teaching
Geoscience topics and themes

From Biology, I liked the idea of the Botany virtual poster session.
I saw on YouTube that there were quite a number of poster session videos - but many did not seem to take advantage of the format's potential.

From Mathematics, I liked the variety of the AMATYC webinars,

From Psychology, I liked the shared course outlines of Project Syllabus

From a number of the disciplines, I liked the idea of the blog. I'd like to know how worthwhile those groups who have them think they are.

* Conditions for community college faculty *

From Chemistry, I liked the American Chemical Society's "Two Year College Chemistry Faculty Status Survey Spring 2010" because it had similarities to what I heard from doing some of the Economics Department surveys for this project this spring. I think those similarities suggest some common challenges across smaller departments at Community Colleges.

From Physics, I liked the "TYC Isolation Study" by Monroe, Enger, and O'Kuma, and the ideas of combating isolation through leadership, communication, and scholarship. (1999)
I came away wondering how those recommendations compared to the AEA Teaching Innovations Program outcomes.

From Sociology, I liked "The Community College Conundrum: Pitfalls and Possibilities of Professional Sociological Associations" Katherine R. Rowell, Sinclair Community College and especially the Recommendations
Notice and Care
Task force and research
Examine other disciplinary associations
Four-year / Two-year partnerships
Increasing professional socialization
Recognize community college as social justice
(Thank you, Katherine!)


Share edittextuser=4382 post_id=14596 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

One of the clear themes in this discussion is the need for developing "community" around issues of teaching and learning - whether in our particular disciplines or more generally. The sharing in this discussion has been quite rich, in terms of providing feedback on resources developed across disciplines and outlining the needs of community college instructors, which may be somewhat unique, in particular in terms of the isolation many instructors may feel.

While the group assembled here is intentionally a biased sample of caring and thoughtful instructors/scholars, I find the richness of the discussion and the engagement of those participating in this discussion to be qualitatively different (richer) than I experience with faculty on my own campus, where I direct our teaching and learning center and push faculty members and administrators to adopt/adapt/assess pedagogical and curricular innovations aimed at improving student learning outcomes. [NC A&T State University is an 11,000 student research-intensive historically black university with a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate programs (MA, MS, and PhD) and the largest producer of black engineers in the country, but with many of the same challenges many of you face in teaching a large number of students under-prepared in mathematics and writing - e.g. about a third of our incoming class places into our developmental math course and D-F-W rates in many of our math and science courses hover at around 40%].

I find the faculty and departmental desire to look for solutions in "high failure rate courses", for example, to be quite low, along with the interest in coming together with others (within a discipline, across institutions) to find common solutions (or even undertake research to become knowledge producers in this area) to these common challenges. Perhaps that is because of the incentives to publish that faculty members at many public four-year colleges and universities face - and increasingly at private liberal arts colleges as well. There is something different here in this discussion that I find quite refreshing and energizing.

But... moving out more broadly, if you think about your colleagues, who may be less intrinsically motivated than you are to improve teaching and learning (in economics, sociology, biology, etc.) in their classrooms, will the development and implementation of resources such as workshops, on-line knowledge networks, cutting-edge topics, information on pedagogical innovation, blogs and listservs, wikis, webinars, etc. REALLY make a difference in terms of improving student learning outcomes in our fields? In our institutions? If so, is the development of community around teaching and learning X (pick your discipline or perhaps leave X out altogether) the single most important driver of this change (and ongoing engagement)? Is this a necessary condition for transformational change?

Perhaps this is another way of asking: Will "Building the Teaching Commons" (which has elements of community as well as knowledge/ideas), as envisioned by Mary Huber and Pat Hutchings, indeed advance student learning and teaching practices across our disciplines and in our classrooms? What are the essential elements of that "Teaching Commons"?

Reference and Related Information:

Huber, M.T., Hutchings, P. (2005), The Advancement of Learning: Building the Teaching Commons, Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA.


Share edittextuser=1021 post_id=14598 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Thanks for the posting, Scott. I co-directed our faculty resource center here at Highline Community College for a couple years and I can relate to your comments about faculty willingness to adopt/adapt/assess innovations.

I had a couple of thoughts while reading the questions you pose. A number of the sources and references address faculty motivation for professional development, so I'm sure I'm repeating some of what they said here.

If we take participation as a function of motivation and opportunity, then we have those two latter points to focus on. While they are interdependent, it seems worthwhile to examine them separately.

We can look at motivation and see internal and external sources. As with students, internal motivation is what we love, but external motivation is the tool that we have. And we hope that the right kind of external motivation will spark the internal motivation that leads to authentic participation. One of the best external motivators we may have for an initiative like this is relationship and community. Academic work on technological diffusion supports the importance of relationships.

The information commons would probably be associated most closely with opportunity in our participation function. The more varied the opportunity, the more likely the participation. But there is also a critical mass question. In order for any one opportunity strand to be viable and sustainable, it needs a certain number of people who are actively participating.


Share edittextuser=4382 post_id=14600 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

I have an example that illustrates the motivation that can be an outgrowth of community. Our campus developed a project called Teaching Squares about 10 years ago. The objective was to give faculty members shared experiences that could provide the basis for conversation about improving teaching and learning. In the project, four faculty from different disciplines form the square. To begin, each faculty member observes a class of each of the other square participants. The faculty then meet to talk about what they learned. The only ground rule for the discussion is that it should be about how the observation suggested ways to improve your own teaching rather than criticism or praise of the other individuals. It has been a wonderful tool for building communities across the campus. I know that people have changed their teaching strategies based on the interactions in the squares. I think that it's been especially good, because like this group it gives people an opportunity to interact outside their own disciplines.

Unfortunately, it has not taken the next step of producing SoTAL research.

I continue to think about Scott's questions. One of the characteristics of cc econ faculty that will make outreach more challenging is that they come from a wide variety of disciplines. In the St. Louis region, cc faculty teaching economics have degrees in public policy, anthropology, history, family and consumer science, and education as well as lots of MBAs. Because they don't self identify as economists, it might require more outreach than in disciplines where faculty tend to have degrees in field. Is there any research on the academic qualifications of faculty members teaching economics?


Share edittextuser=4596 post_id=14601 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

This post was editted by Phuoc Huynh on Mar, 2nd
Maureen Nutting, History
I apologize for entering this conversation so late, but I have been swamped by waves from different seas in the past few weeks. I would like to thank all of you for your posts, as I have learned much from them and from the links you have provided.
I found the earth sciences site to be particularly rich insofar as it provides a rich mix of pedagogy and subject content that is easily accessed. .
I also found considerable value in ( ) as an framework for organizing workshops. The Pacific Northwest TYCA call for papers suggests that the upcoming meeting should be covering a number of subjects that are relevant to my colleagues, but I must tell you that I had never heard of this organization before seeing the page on this SERC website. Well, we are merging with Humanities next month and perhaps that will increase my learning curve.
RE: those questions
1. Are the challenges faced by instructors at two-year colleges discipline-specific or common in nature? What is the overlap across disciplines?
We face both sets of challenges. First, we must teach our curriculum and uphold the standards and practices that are specific to our different disciplines, and we must ensure that students learn what they are supposed to learn in discrete courses, and in the meantime develop the skills (library & lab research, writing, documenting, etc.) that they need to succeed in upper division courses when they move forward to the transfer institutions.
We also need to learn how to articulate our discipline-specific outcomes within the context of general education learning and assessment and the thinking behind it. (BTW, the Carleton people have been real leaders in this work, particularly in promoting and assessing information literacy.) We need to improve on our strategies to ensure that real learning goes on in our classes, particularly those where we have students with wide ranges of skills, challenges, and perspectives, and very little support for learning outside the classroom.
In community colleges, where there may be very few colleagues in our disciplines, we need to support our colleagues in other disciplines and get support from them. That process involves learning what they do that is different from what we do and learning what they teach that complements what we teach, and forming bridges that connect not only us but our students.

2. What is most beneficial - cutting edge content (see the Geosciences resources at SERC, pedagogical innovation resources, activities that can be used in courses or as supplements to courses, social/professional networking resources (such as blogs), or some combination of the above?
Blogs work to some degree but while some bloggers run full stream ad infinitum, others fade out of the conversations. I think well-crafted, regularly updated websites, like Geosciences resources at SERC, are wonderful because they can provide all of these services—or easy links to them in one location (pedagogy resources, content resources, materials and strategies for classes, networking links, etc.) , and one can go there and find exactly what one needs when one is looking for it, whether it is a specific learning activity or how to deal with a large class or what needs debunking. (Like the geoscientists, we historians often have to do a lot of debunking.) If maintained, these websites can provide that cutting edge element that we need to stay current in our disciplinary fields and in our pedagogy. And if those websites have resource sections, we can provide links to them through our resource pages on Angel or Blackboard or the other e-learning platforms we provide for our students. That way, they not only get access to these resources, but they are given a portal into the disciplines, what concerns us in our disciplines, and what we value as specialists in our disciplines.

3. What is most likely to promote change in teaching behavior among your colleagues? "Build it and They'll Come" is generally not a sustainable model by itself - what else is needed?
I think that elearning facilities are going to effect the most change in my colleagues’ teaching behavior—combining elearning with classroom instruction, that is. I know it has changed my teaching and that of a number of colleagues. While I watched the Luddites resist, I have seen most of them either retire or sign on. Why? Working online with students makes communications easier and it can get better results. For example, After adding online components for years, I switched to hybrids last year and now hold class on campus (lectures, focused small group discussions & presentations) four days a week and one day a week, students post two paragraph answers to questions based on their readings. I literally correct all their postings (the history, the grammar, etc.). Well, they end up writing better by the end of the quarter, and they have actually read their books! Several of my colleagues have now adapted this format and think it works better. Students grouch initially, but they get it after a while. Yes, start-ups on these require a whole lot of work, if you take them seriously, and it takes many hours every week to respond to all the postings, but the rewards are well worth the effort.
I look forward to meeting you and working with you next week. Now back to reading and responding to those postings....


Share edittextuser=4430 post_id=14604 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

I’m late to the ball, sorry to say, but as others have said, it’s been a hectic month of completing grades for my classes, hosting family for a college graduation, and hurried visits to a new grandchild and anxious parents 300 miles away.

I’m finding the posted disciplinary pages to be fascinating and thought-provoking. I expected to see materials I could relate to in fields that seem close to mine (English) such as history, and I have. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised to recognize in fields removed from mine (Geosciences, Math, and Physics) some kindred approaches.

Re: Geosciences has regional sub-groups of their national organization as does English. I want to learn more about how those groups operate and what they do in particular to foster teaching. The English regionals hold conferencs, sometimes publish journals and newsletters, and work together in a national organization that sponsors the journal I edit (Teaching English in the Two-Year College or TETYC as it’s know). I wonder if Geosciences is moving in that same direction. Our regionals do not interact much other than as a loose confederation, so I’m eager to learn if Geosciences regionals are collaborating (perhaps via cyberspace) on any projects.

Re: Math. College Mathematics Journal sounds similar in mission to TETYC. I very much liked the electronic resources that enable website visitors to access Classroom Capsules from the archives. TETYC has long published “What Works for Me” entries, short (50-500 word) pieces on practical activities to use in the English classroom. I like the idea of making all of those available electronically. Math also has regionals, like Geosciences and English, although they seem to be state by state. Again, I’m curious about to what extent these regionals interact with one another. And I’m drawn to the Knowledge Exchange Networks approach. The Annual AMATYC conference is exciting to hear about; we have not been successful in pulling together a national English TYC conference, mostly because of the limited travel support offered to faculty, most of whom would choose their regional conference or the national Conference on College Composition and Communication instead. Thus, I’d like to learn more about the AMATYC Webinar and Traveling Workshops series.

Re: Physics. This is impressive in its attention to TYC teaching. The White papers produced by task forces focused on TYC physics instruction, the Bloog and Wiki, and the array of information and materials for TYC faculty merits closer attention than I can give it right now.

Re: History. Two articles posted on the AHA website by Emily Sohmer Tai, Queensborough CC, caught my eye for several reasons. One is that I know people in English at Queensborough who are active teacher-scholars also. Several of you (Scott Simkins, Donna Duffy, James Peyton, Gail Hafer, Maureen Nutting) have been posting about the conditions that lead 2-year faculty to becoming invested in improving their teaching. See Queensborough here, a site of activity in my field as well as in history, suggests that something’s happening at that campus that crosses disciplines. My point is that at some locations I suspect that disciplines are isolated—one group is active in exploring, even researching pedagogy while other disciplines are not, perhaps because of a serendipitous grouping of like-minded folks or an enlightened administrator, but at other locations, there’s a campus ethos at work. (In this case it’s my impression that CUNY community college campuses grant tenure and have scholarly expectations of their faculty—I receive manuscripts regularly from other NYC community colleges such as LaGuardia and Kingsborough as well. LaGuardia faculty have developed a concept they call “Messy Conversations,” discussions of teaching challenges designed not to produce quick-fix solutions but instead to lead to thoughtful reflection on underlying assumptions and causes. “The Messy Teaching Conversation: Toward a Model of Collegial Reflection, Exchange, and Scholarship on Classroom Problems” by Heidi Johnsen, Michelle Pacht, Phyllis van Slyck, and Ting Man Tsao.)

Another interesting angle to Tai’s work is that she discusses two-year campuses as sites that provide opportunity to engaged teachers. I think we’re all aware of the constraints presented by teaching at 2-year campuses, but Tai’s exploration of innovative pedagogies (e.g. PBL) and outside-the-box history research points out that 2-year campuses can be laboratories for innovative teaching.

Finally, the two articles underscore the value of research to 2-year campus teachers, especially when that research can be linked directly to the classroom.

The History site also provided a series of other documents of interest to me, especially Tim Harris’s letter about burgeoning Preparing Future Faculty programs situated in grad programs. Harris raises the question of why must participants be pursuing a PhD in order to enroll in such programs. Our national Two Year College English Association has issued a report (posted on my page) that also addresses the issue of teacher preparation. I realize that our charge, as I understand it, is to focus on faculty development of current faculty, but it’s clear that we also need to look ahead to the future in trying to foster the development of faculty who will want to engage in continuous improvement as teachers.


Share edittextuser=4472 post_id=14610 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

The last part of Jeff's post above (#34), focusing on preparing future faculty members to be engaged teacher-scholars invested in continuous improvement, got me thinking: What is the path that most community college faculty members have taken to their current positions? Is it self-selection at play, with graduate students who have had an enduring passion for teaching (anathema in most PhD programs) ultimately choosing to teach at a community college? Or are other reasons/mechanisms at play? (OK, perhaps those are rhetorical questions, but maybe not.) The reason I ask is because that, perhaps, has implications for reaching out to graduate students and providing them with resources and a community where the exchange of teaching ideas, challenges, and experiences is encouraged and valued. This is another variation of the question: "Are the needs (of graduate students) different, depending on whether (the graduate student's) the preferred professional destination is a community college or four-year school/college?"


Share edittextuser=1021 post_id=14611 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Scott's question about why faculty members find themselves at community colleges again suggests that we don't know enough about community college faculty in economics. At my own institution, many of the faculty across all disciplines are constrained in their job search by the employment of a spouse. This applies to both men and women. We also hire individuals who decided after receiving an MA that they were interested in teaching, but their qualifications limited their choices. More rarely, we hire individuals who chose to begin their careers at the community college. Some of these individuals leave after gaining experience or as circumstances change. However, what many might find surprising is the number of faculty who decide to stay at the community college when the locational constraints of the spouse (St. Louis has numerous teaching hospitals, so many of the spouses are in various graduate programs in health fields)no longer apply.

That's the annectdotal information from a large community college in an urban area. It would be interesting to know more about who teaches economics at community colleges, why they made the choice, and how long they stay. If they made the chose because of their interest in teaching, then it might be easier to attract them to regional programs that focus on teaching or to encourage them to become more involved in sharing resources and experiences.


Share edittextuser=4596 post_id=14612 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

To follow up on Gail's comments: at my former institution (a two-year campus in Ohio), we hired only PhDs in English dating back to 1981. I think what they had in common was a passion for teaching and a generalist's outlook on our field of English. We never hired a single faculty member, for instance, who self-identified as a composition specialist (with a doctorate to match), yet most of them at some point presented at a composition conference or published in a composition journal. So one thing that the two-year campus seems to offer is some "freedom" from specialization. I was an administrator for awhile and saw some of that same phenomenon in other departments, besides English, mostly manifested in the faculty member's growing interest in SoTL and pedagogical research/publication.

I'm unwilling to generalize, but I wonder if some/many faculty are drawn to 2-year campuses because of the freedom they experience to follow their interests.


Share edittextuser=4472 post_id=14614 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Here are some statements wanting of data, questions, and some anecdotal information about what leads a graduate student in economics to teach at a community college.

Enjoying teaching is probably the most important, but aren't the other job opportunities accessible to the student important, too? Most of my grad school classmates were "heavily" recruited by 4-year schools, government agencies, and accounting firms (e.g.presence at the annual AEA meeting, fly-outs, coordinated visits/presentations with future colleagues). I am pretty sure none were recruited in the same way by community colleges. Also, for PhD's in economics (which I am not) I thought I remember starting pay for entry-level Economist positions being slightly higher outside of the community college circuit. I would also think future earning potential would be higher outside of cc. In grad school, I came across a program to expose us to teaching at a cc. I went to a presentation about it and remember hearing a non-econ grad student surprised that the pay for cc faculty was so "high" (more about that program: ). It reminded me that econ PhD pay is generally higher than it is for other social science disciplines. Do 4-year institutions pay faculty across disciplines using the same scale? I think most cc's in CA do.

The last concern I wanted to raise is that the econ Ph.D. training I received was focused on publishing research, not on teaching (at all). Is it like that in other disciplines?


Share edittextuser=4523 post_id=14615 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Tisha Emerson (Economics)

I, too, must apologize for my late post ... I only wish that my life slowed down when classes end ...

The postings for the various disciplines were quite impressive. I was particularly impressed with disciplines (Chemistry, English, History, Math, Physics) that have annual conferences and/or workshops focused on those at 2YCs. The online networks (discussion boards and listservs), I think, are also productive means of sharing information and building community. Perhaps the most impressive, to me, was the new faculty experience for those at 2YC in physics. I suspect this is quite helpful in the development of new instructors both in terms of pedagogical information and networking.

As others have mentioned, however, improving pedagogical practices is not just a matter of sharing information. The provision of information is a necessary but not sufficient condition for adoption of new/improved practices. What is the sufficient condition, I wish I knew. ... For now, I think we can lower the cost to others of adopting new pedagogies and hopefully this will result in net benefits sufficient to induce adoption. I do think that is what Mark is trying to do with this project and I'm excited to see where it goes.

Looking forward to meeting everyone tomorrow!



Share edittextuser=2898 post_id=14616 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Heather Macdonald (Geology)

It's really interesting to read all these posts - fascinating to see what's going on in the various disciplines.

It's nice to see comments about On the Cutting Edge in several of these posts. Rochelle mentioned the Cutting Edge workshop on Preparing for an Academic Career - a workshop for grad students and post-docs (I organized the first of these workshops in 2003 and most since then). We always have a leader from a two-year college and one of the goals of the workshop is to give the participants a better sense of what it's like to be a faculty members at a two-year college, at a liberal arts school, a research university, etc and we do that in a variety of ways. One of the benefits is that all the participants leave knowing more about 2YC.

We have also found great value in having faculty from across the types of institutions in the Cutting Edge workshops for Early Career Geoscience faculty - and over the years have have some nice collaborations develop between participants from 2YC and other 4YC. I'm curious about whether it would also be good to have a separate workshop for early career 2yc faculty....

Katherine - I share your perspective on the value of open access, particularly regarding adjunct faculty. The National Association of Geoscience Teachers is considering a new dues category for adjunct faculty - addressing that concern.

I'm looking forward to meet all of you.



Share edittextuser=5 post_id=14617 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Scott's 3 questions.

1. Are the challenges faced by instructors at two-year colleges discipline-specific or common in nature? What is the overlap across disciplines?

As with most responses, my experience is both. I teach for a large community college district in the Phx., Az metro area. The district is discentralized with 10 colleges so my response is based upon my teaching in this decentralized environment along with 2 years of experience at a small, rural community college in SE Arizona along the border.

The common challenges, which we all encounter include:

1. Lack of preparation

2. Lack of academic maturity
3. Increasing diversity - language, culture, expectation

4. Increasing government involvement (see explanation below)

5. Associated with 4 above - increasing levels of directed financial aid fraud - I belief this to be an increasing and unrecognized problem, particularly in the online area.

6. Integration of online and hybrid delivery - this challenge confronts the institution, faculty and students, particularly when thinking about points 1 - 5 above.

7. Very, very low success rates - measured by course completion, withdraw, and failure. This tends to potentially breed a culture of failure.

Increasing government involvement and financial aid fraud go hand in had. The increasing government involvement is also indirect through the accrediation process.

We all have antecdotes from our teaching experience. The challenge offered by government involvement and financial aid is illustrated by an e mail I received from a student enrolled in my online summer econ class. The class begins May 31.

The student writes that the financial aid voucher received will not be available until June 15 and he wishes to continue in the class with the understanding that he will not have the text until the class is 50 per cent completed. The e mail outlines his expectations for alternative accommodations to the material.

Discipline specific challenges

1. Instruction, particularly in micro principles, is quantitative based and often far beyond the reach of the vast majority of students.

2. Negative incoming perceptions of the subject. If it were not for math, econ at my institution would be the most dreaded and despised.

3. Faculty tend to be older (above the mean) and there is a gulf between then and junior faculty as well as students in terms of expectations, willingness to consider alternative forms of instruction and currency in the subject.

4. The expansion of online and hybrid delivery challenges my college in a number of ways beyond those common to the institution. The staffing tends to be adjunct (older full time faculty do not and will not teach these new delivery forms). These adjuncts tend to be excellent, but they are working professionals and are outside the community at the institution which makes it difficulty to integrate the declining student resources into their support for learners. Further, as this is not their vocation, the time they invest is probably less than residential faculty in student outreach and support. (although this would be worth attempting to measure)

2. What is most beneficial - cutting edge content (see the Geosciences resources at SERC, pedagogical innovation resources, activities that can be used in courses or as supplements to courses, social/professional networking resources (such as blogs), or some combination of the above?

Cutting edge content - less material. I agree with Robert Frank, in most principles classes we attempt far, far too much. Many texs are encyclopedias and the courses can be a like a frantic 10 day tour of Europe. A cutting edge would be to reduce the concepts/competencies - the NCEE uses a framework of a 6 step way of economic thinking, Frank advocates for a handful of topics well taught over the semester.

What is useful? This is a challenge to consider, given what I see as the uneven divide in faculty perceptions, at least in my experience at my institution and district. The older faculty (average age at our college is 49, the age is much older in economics) find the status quo acceptable so outreach may fall on deaf ears. Some younger faculty are already engaged in exploring alternatives so building community through: membership in the local council for economic education (NCEE), awareness of and membership in organizations such as the Foundation for Teaching Economics, and perhaps an ongoing support structure that comes from this process.

3. What is most likely to promote change in teaching behavior among your colleagues? "Build it and They'll Come" is generally not a sustainable model by itself - what else is needed?

This is challenging, as I indicate above. Given the composition of the economics faculty in my district the most important considerations are

1. Audience analysis - someone far more creative than I would need to consider the incentive structure of our public community college and the preferences and expectations of long time econ faculty to devise change behavior in the "older" group.

2. Younger faculty might well be influenced by intrinsic motivations and would readily join and participate in existing organizations and this process if they were aware of the existence. So, the challenge is effective marketing/communication.

Excellent discussion - I am learning a great deal.


Share edittextuser=4528 post_id=14621 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Why faculty select the community colleges?

My experience may be typical of economics faculty in the community college district in which I currently work.

I began my education in the community college system in 1973. In retrospect I was exposed to a wide variety of instruction, and was fortunate to learn from a number of master teachers. Upon graduation I worked in the banking industry for 8 years. During that time I became familiar with the community college system from the perspective of an adjunct faculty teaching ABA classes.

I returned to school for training in education due to an interest in the process of teaching and learning.

The take aways here, as I reflect on my experience and my colleagues:

1. Most came to community college teaching later in their careers from industry or, interestinly, the high school system. Current full time faculty at my institution previously worked in the oil industry, print media, private higher education, and municipal government. Former full time faculty worked in the high school system, for the health care industry, and for the military. I don't know if our institution is representative but none of my colleagues had targeted community college teaching as an end goal.

2. The incentive structure in community college is far different from 4 year and research institutions. The focus and rewards are centered around teaching and service rather than research. This is not so say that research is not valued, but to achieve residentail (tenure) status, faculty must now demonstrate effective teaching.

3. Pay - overall our community college district has much higher pay than other educational alternatives - the typical faculty in English, History, Nutrition, and Foreign Lanaguage earn substantially more than other alternatives - pay range is 42,000 to 92,000 for an 8 1/2 contract. Overload teaching can add 2400 to 24,000 to these totals.

Economics faculty may earn more at a 4 year or research institution (I believe the average faculty salary at ASU is 175,000) - but the difference in incentive structure may lead faculty to select the community college - our current econ faculty consists of 50 per cent phd and 50 per cent masters degree holders.

4. Security - during the last 3 major recessions there were no RIFs at the community college distruct. While this may be true of other colleges, as the vast majority of econ faculty come to the community college at my institution from industries that are not protected, they may find this job security extremely attractive.

5. Intellectual curiosity that is focused on teaching and learning through economics. It is my impression that the younger faculty - both residential and adjunct - at my institution have a strong interest in the process of teaching and learning and varying degrees of curiousity on methods of integrating effective teaching in economics.


Share edittextuser=4528 post_id=14622 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4201

Join the Discussion

Log in to reply

« Outreach to Community College Faculty Across the Disciplines