A Study of the Design and First-Year Implementation of the Iowa Community College Quality Faculty Plans
Sprouse, J. Marlene
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The purpose of this research was to study the design and first-year implementation of the Iowa community college Quality Faculty Plans. The plans were developed by each of the fifteen Iowa community colleges in response to Iowa Code 260C.36 which replaced community college faculty licensure in July 2003. According to Iowa Code, Quality Faculty Plans were to be designed for hiring and developing quality faculty. The plans were to include provisions for new faculty orientation and continued development of veteran faculty. They were also to include a list of faculty competencies and explanations of ways that faculty would demonstrate those competencies. Qualitative methods were used to analyze the written Quality Faculty Plans from each community college and interviews with administrators, human resources directors, and faculty (one from each college) who served on the original committees to develop the plans for the specific colleges. The written plans were analyzed through coding that stemmed from the requirements in the Iowa Code. The interviews were analyzed through open coding. Interview questions emerged from the analysis of the written plans. The study found that although the Quality Faculty Plans all addressed the requirements of the Iowa Code, they each addressed the requirements in different ways. Variations among the plan designs and implementations were evident in the format of the Quality Faculty Plans, the understanding of practices in faculty development, the interpretation of the term competencies, and the influence of college culture. The study concluded that (1) a wide variety in the articulation of bow each community college intended to meet and met the elements of the Iowa Code for Quality Faculty Plans was evident, (2) community college culture played an integral part in the design and implementation of the Quality Faculty Plans, (3) understanding of faculty development practices and the implementation of those practices to orient and develop community college faculty varied greatly, (4) Quality Faculty Plans revealed a lack of common understanding of the definition, demonstration, and measurement of instructional competencies (5) as written, Quality Faculty Plans should be viewed as first steps in a dynamic process that has the potential to evolve into faculty development plans that adhere to best practices, meet the needs of faculty, align with institutional improvement, and increase student learning. This study revealed two implications for future research: (1) whether or not faculty development under the Quality Faculty Plans improved student learning and (2) an in-depth study of a specific college's culture and its affect on the Quality Faculty Plan. In addition, this study provided implications for future practice, specifically for professional development among community college personnel addressing (1) best practices in faculty development and (2) definition of faculty competencies and demonstration of those competencies.
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