A qualitative study of community college faculty defined through the lens of sociological theories relating to professionalism and de -professionalism
Scope and method of study. Qualitative Research of Community College Faculty.
Findings and conclusions. Historically, academic community college faculty are known for their commitment to teaching (Cohen & Brawer, 1996). However, there is a current need for vocational “on-the-job” knowledge at community colleges that necessitates those who do not come from a teaching background to be involved in instruction (Carnevale & Desrochers, 2001). This study was a qualitative, naturalistic inquiry at one institution to explore the myriad definitions of professionalism given the tensions between academic and vocational functions of community colleges. Sociological literature on professionalism in occupations provided a lens to examine full-time and adjunct academic and vocational community college faculty. Knowledge acquisition, service ethic, autonomy and commitment to calling were the characteristics examined. In this context, the professional profile of full-time academic and full-time vocational community college faculty had a number of commonalities. They can be defined in very similar terms. Most notably, a student-centered focus was shared by faculty and administration. The adjunct faculty were distinguishable from full-time faculty along several dimensions of professionalism, mainly concerning service ethic. This study corroborates current research that states, in comparison to full-time faculty, adjuncts are significantly less involved in campus life and have less autonomy in their work. The adjuncts' lack of engagement in institutional activities was largely a condition of being part-time.
0275: Community colleges