Faculty at community colleges shape the selection, design, and implementation of the curriculum and instructional practices. While faculty shape curriculum and instruction, the community college workplace with its culture, attitudes, rules and requirements in turn shapes faculty approaches to curriculum and instruction. Faculty serve as the hub for communication between their colleagues, as well as between students, administrators, and staff. Faculty at community colleges experience a greater focus and emphasis on teaching as their primary responsibility, with little pressure to publish or conduct research. Although committed to their academic disciplines, faculty at community colleges have more traditionally viewed their role as a calling to help others develop an understanding of their discipline for the betterment of the individual and the contribution to a more educated society.
While the characteristics of faculty are unique to each community college and the region they serve, community college faculty demographics differ from faculty in other levels of instruction. In 2009, community college faculty in general were 54% female, 22% minority populations, had an approximate median age of fifty, and 70% were part-time employees (Cohen, Brawer, & Kisker, 2013, p. 82-83). In general, the majority of community college faculty hold a master’s degree or equivalent experience if they work in the occupational or workforce related areas. However, in 2003, 19% of community college faculty held a doctorate degree.
Faculty workload for full-time faculty at community colleges is customarily four or five classes each term resulting in 13-17 contact hours per week as the standard although it may be as much as 30 contact hours per week depending on content area. The workload also depends upon class size which varies for different content areas. In addition to classroom contact hours, community college faculty typically hold 10-12 office hours each week and spend another 5-10 hours on campus each week in a variety of activities such as committee work, meetings, campus events, etc. Regardless of the number of hours spent on campus in the classroom, office hours, and in other duties, as professional employees under salaried contract, faculty spend additional time each week preparing for classes, grading assessments and analyzing the results. Those inclined to conduct research or write scholarly papers do so above and beyond the time already described.
Cohen, Brawer, and Kisker (2013), in summarizing Roessler (2006), stated that community college full-time faculty “salaries differ by institutional locale, averaging $59,960 in suburban colleges and $46,534 in rural colleges” (p. 89). Many faculty members also teach overload classes for additional pay which adds on average approximately 10% to their salaries. As for part-time faculty, Pearch and Marutz (2005), in quoting Wyles (1998), stated “those who depend on part-time teaching for income or as entrée to a...