Faculty participation in decision -making in academic departments of two -year colleges in New York State
This study focuses on the participation of full-time faculty in decision-making at public community colleges in New York State. The study explores the extent and variability of decision participation in academic departments as perceived by faculty in a quantitative, survey-based approach. The study is based on the following two premises: participation varies across distinctly different decision realms, faculty demographic factors, and department characteristics; and greater perceived decision participation on the part of faculty at the department level is associated with greater perceived department effectiveness. The individual faculty member is the unit of analysis, and the academic department is the organizational level of focus.
The study identified three key domains of departmental decision-making: curriculum, resources, and personnel. Six factors of departmental effectiveness were also identified: student education satisfaction, student development, faculty employment satisfaction, professional development and quality of faculty, system openness and ability to acquire resources, and organizational health.
The statistical analysis revealed significant variability in faculty participation in departmental decision-making. Nearly 90 percent of respondents indicated a desire to participate in departmental decision-making at higher levels. Participation in curricular decisions was greater than that in personnel and resource decisions. The greatest participation in curricular issues was reported by females, tenured faculty, and high-ranked faculty. Highest participation in personnel decisions was shown by older faculty, tenured faculty, and high-ranked faculty. Faculty at higher ranks, tenured, and in smallest departments reported the highest degree of participation in resource decisions.
Correlation analysis showed positive relationships between faculty participation in decision-making and faculty reports of department effectiveness. Faculty participation in decisions on curriculum and resources was associated positively with perceptions of department effectiveness. Participation in all three decision domains was positively related to faculty employment satisfaction.
The study suggests that full-time faculty at public community colleges in New York State participate in department-level decisions at levels lower than the faculty desire, and that academic departments in the same institutions do not function as participatory democracies. Moreover, an increase in faculty members' perceived participation in departmental decision-making is likely to coincide with an increase in perceived department effectiveness and an increase in faculty employment satisfaction.
0275: Community colleges