Determining professional development needs of aspiring and current division chairs /deans of the Louisiana community and technical college system
While the responsibilities and administrative decisions required of division chairs/deans have been documented in research conducted at four-year colleges, research on division chairs/deans in community and technical colleges has been limited. Consequently, this study was conducted at a community and technical college system and was further distinguished from prevalent research in that it was not focused on the professional development of new division chairs/deans. Instead, this research was based upon a proactive stance in determining professional development needs of aspiring division chairs/deans and in determining continuing education needs for current division chairs/deans. In an age of accountability, and with the recognition of looming massive retirements, low retention, and high burnout of division chairs/deans, the need for prior development, the need for succession planning, and the need for continuous learning were indicated. The action research of this study, conducted at the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS), culminated with the System being presented necessary data and recommendations to effectuate positive change to meet those challenges and opportunities.
Quantitative analysis was conducted through a survey disseminated to current division chair/dean participants of the LCTCS; a System composed of 7 community colleges, 2 technical-community colleges, and 1 technical college which has over 40 campuses. Division chairs/deans were asked to determine the importance of activities associated with the role, to assess their need for development in the activities, to gauge the importance of mentoring, and to rank their preferred modes of professional development delivery. Through this participatory approach, division chairs/deans were, in effect, empowered to design professional development programs.
Support of this research by the LCTCS was indicative of its commitment to these mid-level administrators and of the System's desire to advocate development for their myriad of tasks. As a result, application of research results should prove beneficial in both ending a cycle of exclusive on-the-job training and discovery learning, and in creating a productive continuous learning culture for those division chairs/deans currently in the positions. Findings of the study are displayed through the use of tables to indicate frequencies, percentages, and rankings, and findings are also described in explanatory narratives.
0745: Higher education
0530: Teacher education