Date of Conferral

1-1-2009

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Education

Advisor

Ken Kempner

Abstract

National movements for greater quality in education have increased concerns about student learning and the effectiveness of teaching for the community college. Faculty are responsible for student learning, yet criticized for using ineffective teaching methods despite limited data on community college teaching practices. The purpose of this study was to gain a descriptive understanding of current teaching practices in three community colleges. This single-phase study used a concurrent mixed-method exploratory research design. A purposeful sample of 185 community college faculty across three colleges in the southwestern United States were surveyed about what methods they use, how they perceive their teaching effectiveness, what motivates them to change, and why they teach as they do. This study was grounded in the framework of Bandura's self-efficacy theory to enhance an understanding of the faculty's perspective of improving teaching and learning. Descriptive statistics and inductive analysis of mixed-method data led to key findings indicating that faculty were incorporating diverse and learner-centered strategies and using a variety of assessment methods. Despite feeling that good teaching is not rewarded by their colleges, faculty found participating in professional development and trying new methods beneficial to their teaching. The data indicated that better ways to evaluate teaching effectiveness are needed, along with better ways to evaluate student success at community colleges. This study benefits students, faculty, and community colleges nationally by providing research data to help inform and encourage administrative vision, support, and policies relating to faculty development and learner-centered programs to increase student engagement and success.