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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Faculty vitality in two community colleges : factors reported by instructors as affecting their productivity Sheridan, Casey John


This study investigated community college faculty productivity from within the overall context of faculty vitality. The study was conducted at Fraser Valley College in Abbotsford and Chilliwack, British Columbia, and Red Deer College in Red Deer, Alberta. Two research problems were addressed. First, which work related factors, as reported by continuing contract teaching faculty at the two community colleges, facilitated or hindered the productivity of instructors? Second, to what extent are a composite set of factors, based on those suggested in the literature as affecting faculty vitality, perceived by faculty at these colleges to affect their productivity? The research was descriptive, extending faculty productivity and vitality inquiry into the community college context using a case study approach. A questionnaire employing the critical incident technique was used to collect data from faculty about incidents they perceived as having had a personally significant effect on their productivity. A definition of community college faculty productivity for use in the critical incident process was developed using a 12 member Delphi group consisting of three faculty and three administrators from each college. Rating of the composite set of vitality factors was accomplished by asking the respondents to rate each factor on a five point bipolar rating scale based on their perception of the priority each factor had in affecting their productivity. The 330 incidents collected by the questionnaire (171 facilitating, 159 hindering) were classified into 15 incident categories which in turn were able to be grouped into four major areas each of which provides a theme for the related categories they contain. All factors in the composite set of vitality related factors received a minimum mean rating of three on the five point scale. Conclusions drawn include: (1) the frequency of incidents by category should not be the only measure of category importance because frequencies may vary by institution, by instructor, and over time; (2) the categories reflect an open rather than closed classification system and as such are interrelated; (3) the categories reflect both facilitating and hindering incidents; (4) factors suggested by the literature as affecting vitality are perceived by faculty to affect their productivity but these results may hide a diversity of views for a particular situation; (5) the factors identified as facilitating or hindering community college faculty productivity should not be interpreted as applicable in all situations or for all faculty. Research results suggest increased awareness by administrators (at the colleges in the study) of the facilitating/hindering productivity factor category scheme should lead to a working environment more facilitative to faculty productivity if either facilitating incidents are increased and/or hindering incidents are reduced. The productivity factor assessment section of the questionnaire results suggests administrators at the two colleges should be sensitive to any actions which are perceived as undermining quality of performance.

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