Perceived Effectiveness of Faculty Development Programs for Full-Time Occupational-Technical Faculty in Virginia Community Colleges

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this study was to identify faculty perceptions of the personal and student benefits deriving from participation in faculty development activities. Faced with the challenge of keeping up-to-date with technology in order to keep their students up-to-date, faculty participate in many different activities. The perceived effectiveness of faculty development activities varies depending on the knowledge and interest of each faculty member.

This study was descriptive, using a two-part survey to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. First, a mail survey was used to collect data on the perceptions of faculty members regarding 12 professional development activities. The survey was sent out to 407 faculty in Business Technology and Engineering and Industrial Technology at the 23 colleges in the Virginia Community College System. Second, selected participants were contacted for a follow-up phone interview which elucidated some of the information from the mail survey. The surveys were designed based upon a review of the literature and through interviews with professionals. The survey was pilot tested on community college faculty.

Major findings from the study included the following:

  1. The three most participated in activities were training in computer skills, professional conferences, and college-sponsored presentations and workshops.
  2. Professional conferences and college-sponsored presentations and workshops were the highest rated in terms of participation, but rated the lowest in terms of personal and student benefit.
  3. Females, on average, participate in more activities and have higher ratings for personal and student benefit.
  4. Many faculty reported that funding for professional development activities is limited and that they have a limited amount of time to participate in activities. It is not uncommon for a faculty member to pay out of their own pocket for a worthwhile activity.
  5. Activities that deal the most with learning new technologies, such as training in computer skills, retraining for fields in technology, and internships in business or industry, were given the highest ratings of personal and student benefit.

Based on the findings several recommendations and suggestions for future research were made:

  1. Additional research is needed on the actual measures of student benefit, not just perceptions
  2. Community college faculty need to carefully select professional development activities that will benefit not only themselves and their student as well.
  3. Community college administrators should encourage faculty members to participate in internships in business and industry. Administrators need to do all they can to provide funding for these activities.
  4. Additional research is needed on the differences in how males and females rate their perceptions.



community college, faculty development, Business Technology and Engineering and Industrial Technology faculty, personal and student benefit of faculty development, Career development