Examining Faculty Perceptions of Students' Information Literacy Competencies in a Community College General Education Program
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentCommunity College Leadership Program
ProgramDoctor of Education
Years of declining public funding for two-year colleges have resulted in an increased dependence on part-time or contingent faculty members, who cost institutions less in salaries and benefits. Part-time faculty members now represent the majority of faculty members in higher education, with a larger proportion at community colleges. Accreditation agencies have responded to public calls for accountability with increased requirements for higher education institutions to demonstrate their worth through assessment of student learning, particularly in the general education offerings common to all academic majors. Best practices in assessment require full participation of the faculty teaching these courses, yet when a majority of faculty members are part-time and lack institutional support and resources, some researchers questioned whether their status negatively affects student learning. Senge’s The Fifth Discipline (2006) described shared vision in a learning organization as the participation of its members in common goals and values. The purpose of this quantitative study was to apply Senge’s theory of shared vision that relates the status of the faculty member as full-time or part-time. The study examined ex post facto data gathered from faculty assessments of student-demonstrated information literacy competency in general education courses at a large, multi-campus community college in the Middle States accreditation region. The study compared the faculty ratings to determine whether the status of the faculty member had an effect on the faculty member’s perception of students’ competency. The study also examined whether shared vision between full-time and part-time faculty members was stronger within discipline groups – Arts, Humanities, Sciences, and Social Sciences. The results of the study indicated that the employment status of the faculty member did affect the perceptions of student competency in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. In general, full-time faculty members rated student competency lower than the part-time faculty members did. However, the differences were not significant in the Science disciplines. These findings add to the body of research regarding the impact of part-time faculty members on student learning, as well as the research promoting advocacy for institutional resources for the support of part-time faculty members.