Community College Faculty Scholarship
Community College Faculty Scholarship
Teaching constitutes the primary role of faculty members in community colleges. Teaching occupies 85% of the typical community college faculty member's time (Rosser & Townsend, 2006). This time commitment includes such aspects of teaching as preparing for class, classroom instruction, grading student assignments, and advising students (Rosser & Townsend, 2006). Despite this extensive engagement in teaching, three factors give rise to the question: To what extent are community college faculty members engaged in research and scholarship?
The first of these factors concerns the proportion of full-time community college faculty members who hold a doctoral degree. Although the majority of community college faculty members hold a master's degree, 19% of them have received a doctoral degree (Townsend & Rosser, 2009). Given that the thrust of the doctoral socialization process centers on the acquisition of attitudes, values, knowledge, and skills for scholarly role performance (Austin & Wulff, 2004), we might expect some engagement in scholarship by doctorate-holding community college faculty members.
Another factor concerns the professional identity of community college faculty members, an identity that remains elusive (Cohen & Brawer, 2008). A host of scholars contend that involvement in scholarship provides a vehicle for the forging of the professional identity of community college faculty (Cohen & Brawer, 2003; Eaton, 1994; Levin, Kater, & Wagoner, 2006; Outcalt, 2002; Palmer, 1992; Prager, 2003; Vaughan, 1988).
An alignment of the education mission of the community college with higher education rather than secondary education through faculty engagement in scholarship constitutes the third factor (Crocker-Lakness, 1984; Seidman, 1985). Put differently, the pursuit of scholarship differentiates the mission of higher education from that of secondary education as the advancement of knowledge constitutes one of the primary missions of higher education. Advancements in knowledge find expression in the research and scholarship of faculty members.
Taken together, these three factors reinforce the significance of the question: To what extent are community college faculty members engaged in research and scholarship? This question begets other questions such as: What are the types of research and scholarship performed by community college faculty members? What are the various forces that either foster or impede the engagement of community college members in research and scholarship? Are there specific examples of community college faculty research and scholarship that demonstrate the value of such work to both the institution and to larger society? How can individual community colleges and local and state policy makers support some community college faculty in their engagement in research and scholarship?
This issue of New Directions for Community Colleges titled "Community College Faculty Scholarship" addresses these questions. This volume consists of seven chapters.
The first two chapters concentrate on the extent to which community college faculty members are engaged in research and scholarship as well as on the types of scholarship pursued. In Chapter 1, "Community College Faculty Engagement in Boyer's Domains of Scholarship," John M. Braxton and Dawn Lyken-Segosebe assess the extent of community college engagement in Boyer's (1990) four scholarship domains of application, discovery, integration, and teaching. They gauge the extent of engagement in these four domains using both publications and unpublished, publicly observable outcomes of scholarship as indicators of engagement. Given Boyer's (1990) call for using scholarly forms distinct from journal articles, book chapters, and books in the assessment of faculty scholarship, Braxton and Lyken-Segosebe used such unpublished, publicly observable outcomes of scho