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Faculty development framework for the active teacher/learner at the Community College of Rhode Island

Christine Manville, Johnson & Wales University


Active learning approaches to college teaching are recommended in the literature, however seldom are they practiced in college classrooms (Angelo, 2003; Bonwell & Eison, 1991). Research has demonstrated that changes in teaching methods are associated with opportunities for professional development (Boud & Brew, 1996; Weimer, 2002), and studies have suggested that new frameworks for faculty development programs are needed in community colleges (Murray, 1995; 1999; 2000). This study determined a framework for effective faculty development to promote active teaching/learning at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). Four related areas were explored: the definition of the role of the active teacher/learner; the understanding and use of active learning by full-time faculty in select academic departments; the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to be successful in this role; and the professional needs and interest of faculty transitioning into this role. The mixed method applied research study used two data collection methods: a questionnaire administered to an intensity sample of faculty (N = 219) and semi-structured interviews conducted with key CCRI educational leaders (N = 17). Statistical analysis was conducted with questionnaire data from the 94 respondents (43% return rate); interview data were analyzed for themes and patterns. The findings confirmed information found in the literature: lecture is the primary teaching method; the majority of class time is dedicated to lecture; traditional tools, examination and quizzes, are the primary methods used to assess student learning; the majority of faculty and educational leaders cannot provide an accurate definition for active learning; and the majority of faculty perceive themselves to be effective teachers. Three themes emerged relative to faculty development: (1) the importance of college culture and communication, (2) an inhibition toward change embedded in the social system and professional advancement, and (3) the issue of responsibility for learning. The findings were used to design a conceptual framework for faculty development to support ongoing active teaching/learning at the Community College of Rhode Island. This framework provides the basis for college leaders to design and to implement suitable professional development activities.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Community colleges|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Manville, Christine, "Faculty development framework for the active teacher/learner at the Community College of Rhode Island" (2004). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3136029.