Studies of community college instructors' job satisfaction have been conducted since the early 1900's, using a variety of theoretical constructs and measuring widely different dimensions of satisfaction. One group of studies has looked at the effects of personality variables and personal characteristics on job satisfaction, while another group has investigated working conditions and specific work activities as causes of teacher burnout and job dissatisfaction. In his review of five national and regional studies of job satisfaction, Friedlander (1978) concludes that measures of general job satisfaction are more accurate predictors of faculty members' desire to remain at their job than measures of attitudes toward working conditions.
Overall job satisfaction has been measured through answers to such questions as "How do you view your job? Delighted? Pleased? Satisfied? Equally satisfied and dissatisfied? Dissatisfied? Unhappy? Terrible?" (Filan, Okun, Witter, 1978); and "In five years how attractive would you find remaining in your present position? How attractive would you find a faculty position at another two-year college? at a four-year college?" (Friedlander, 1978). Ratings of global or general facets of working conditions such as relations with colleagues, students, and administrators (Friedlander, 1978) have also been used to assess overall satisfaction. Studies that use such measures show that community college faculty are generally quite satisfied with their careers and plan to teach at a community college for some time to come. Riday, Bingham, and Harvey (1984-85) found that community college faculty in Los Angeles County found their work more satisfying and fulfilling than high school instructors or four-year college faculty.
On the other hand, studies of faculty satisfaction with specific instructional and non-instructional job responsibilities and working conditions have shown some consistent and widespread patterns of both satisfaction and dissatisfaction.
o Lack of time to adequately prepare for class or keep up
to date with the field, to develop innovative teaching
methods or to do a proper job with individual students
(Friedlander, 1978; Hutton and Jobe 1985)
o Lack of recognition or support for professional growth
through writing, advanced study, and recognition and
release time for professional development (Hutton and
o Lack of support for instruction (e.g., the need for
better support services, instructional media and
materials) by the governing board and administrators
(Hutton and Jobe, 1985)
o Poor facilities and equipment, inadequate parking, and
lack of building security (Hutton and Jobe, 1985; and
o Little voice in college decision making (Clagett, 1980;
Cohen and Brawer, 1982)
o Routinization of teaching content, teaching schedule,
instructional methods, professional roles, and
interaction with students (Harnish and Creamer, 1985-86;
Altshuler and Richter, 1985)
o Inflexible or heavy teaching schedules, lack of
recognition, low salaries, and high levels of bureaucracy and
red tape (Diener, 1985)
o Working with unappreciative, unmotivated, or
under-prepared students (Friedlander, 1978; Cohen and Brawer,
1982; Clagett, 1980)
o Teacher evaluation processes (Clagett, 1980; Collins,
THE EFFECTS OF PERSONALITY AND PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS
Harnish and Creamer (1985-86) suggest that routinization in teaching can be minimized by "encouraging diversity in faculty work tasks and the skills used to accomplish them, introducing variety into the frequency and types of teaching opportunities, and supporting an expanded definition of the role of faculty that provides more rewards for a broader range of professional accomplishments" (p. 39).
Highlighting the efforts of Miami-Dade Community College, Altshuler and Richter (1985) underscore the value of:
o hiring teachers for a full year, making summers available for
reduced teaching leads, creative or research projects, and a paid
vacation every two or three years
o restructuring sabbaticals so that faculty can take courses to
retrain for teaching in other disciplines
o adjusting salaries and bonuses to recognize teaching excellence in
o avoiding a static curriculum and implementing a variety of
instructional strategies in the classroom
o encouraging classroom visitations by chairpersons and peers
o ensuring consistency in teacher-administrator relations.
Clagett's (1980) research with a group of community college faculty involved in a burnout and stress reduction workshop resulted in the following recommendations:
o strict enforcement of prerequisites and realistic placement of
students into courses for which they are properly prepared
o college-wide agreement on the promotion of academic excellence and
the maintenance of high standards
o agreement on the responsibilities students must assume for
o improved communication between faculty and administrators regarding
fiscal and managerial decisions
Research suggests that job satisfaction relates both to the individual and the work setting. Because various approaches may be assessing different dimensions of satisfaction, an individualys responses to one set of questions may lead to very different conclusions than the same person's responses to another set of questions. Decision makers should be particularly cautious about the questions they ask and their relationship to the variables they wish to predict and the changes they desire to effect.
Altshuler, Thelma C.; Richter, Suzanne L. "Maintaining Faculty Vitality." New Directions for Community Colleges: v13 n4 p49-61 December 1985
Caldwell, Corrinne. "Community College Faculty Careers." Paper presented at the 1986 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, California, April 15, 1986). 29 p. (ED 269 112)
Clagett, Craig A. "Teacher Stress at a Community College: Professional Burnout in a Bureaucratic Setting." Largo, Md: Prince George's County Community College, 1980. 60p. (ED 195 310)
Cohen, Arthur M.; Brawer, Florence B. The American Community College. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass 1982.
Filan, Gary L.; Okun, Morris A.; and Witter, Robert A. "Influence of Ascribed and Achieved Social Statuses, Values, and Rewards on Job Satisfaction among Community College Faculty." Community/Junior College Quarterly of Research and Practice: v10 n2 p113-122 1986.
Friedlander, Jack. "The Relationship Between General Job Satisfaction and Specific Work-Activity Satisfaction among Community College Faculty." Community/Junior College Research Quarterly; v2 n3 p227-240 April-June 1978.
Harnish, Dorothy; Creamer, Donald G. "Faculty Stagnation and Diminished Job Involvement." Community College Review; v13 n3 p33-39 Winter 1985-86.
Hutton, Jerry B.; Jobe, Max E. "Job Satisfaction of Community College Faculty." Community/Junior College Quarterly of Research and Practice: v9 n4 p317-324 1985.
Riday, George E.; Bingham, Ronald D.; and Harvey, Thomas R. "Satisfaction of Community College Faculty: Exploding a Myth." Community College Review: v12 n3 p46-50 Winter 1984-85.