Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Date of Defense

12-14-2012

Graduate Advisor

Dr. Wolfgang Althof

Committee

Dr. Wolfgang Althof

Dr. Kent Farnswowrth

Dr. Margaret Cohen

Dr. Dixie Kohn

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore faculty members’ perceptions of community college Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTLs); whose main purpose is to promote, facilitate, and honor excellence in teaching and learning through the support of full-time and adjunct faculty, at all career stages. A generic qualitative study with a grounded theory approach was conducted to understand faculty members’ perceptions and to develop recommendations for community college CTL directors, administrators, and faculty. Focus group interviews were conducted with groups of faculty at each of three Midwestern U.S. community colleges. Faculty were placed in one of three groups; frequent interaction with the CTL, less frequent interaction, or infrequent or no interaction. Fifty-four participants were involved in this study; 51 faculty members and three CTL directors. Five major categories emerged as a result of axial coding: CTL Director’s Professionalism, CTL Atmosphere, CTL Relationship to the Institution, CTL Programming, and CTL Impact on Teaching and Perceived Impact on Student Learning. The categories were related to each other and through selective coding, a theoretical scheme emerged: the director’s professionalism determines the CTL’s atmosphere, programming, and relationship to the institution. Through these three avenues, the director facilitates the CTL’s impact on teaching and student learning. The findings demonstrate how CTLs can bring about a change in culture from a teacher-centered paradigm to a learner-centered paradigm. Additionally, the findings indicate that effective directors utilize a leadership style in which they reach out to others at all levels within the organization. Further, the findings support the use of professional development, including short duration programs delivered through CTLs, to impact changes in teaching and learning at community colleges in the United States.

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