Faculty and Staff Development. ERIC Digest.

by Oromaner, Mark 

In their discussion of "developing faculty developers," Kapp, Healy, Nellisen, Mihevc, deWinter Hebron, and Watt (1996) cite a number of factors that lead to the emergence of faculty development initiatives. They include diverse student populations, demands for accountability, cost of human resources, new and part-time faculty, and the information/technology explosion. 

Indeed, the existence of associations such as the National Council for Staff, Program, and Organizational Development (NCSPOD) and the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development and journals such as The Journal of Staff, Program, & Organization Development attest to the awareness within the higher education community of the importance of faculty and staff development. In her overview of the evolution of staff development programs over the past 30 years, Burnstad (1994) argues, "The overwhelming vision for the future of community colleges is that staff development programs should play an increasingly important role in all aspects of campus life," (p. 394). 


As one might expect in teaching-centered institutions, the bulk of development programs in community colleges focus on faculty. In a review of ERIC documents describing faculty development programs at eight community colleges, Foote (1996) points out that such programs allow professors to improve instructional material, keep abreast of new technology and methods, and network with colleagues. Gross and Stovall (1994) describe Valencia Community College's Faculty Academy that assists new tenure-track faculty to meet the college's criteria for tenure. Additionally, Brown, Daniels, and Sanchez (1996) provide a case study of the Grossmont College Project to enhance faculty vitality. 

As community colleges undergo the transformation from teaching-centered to learning-centered institutions (O'Banion, 1997), and from an individual-level of analysis to a systems-level of analysis (Oromaner, 1997), one might expect an increasing recognition of the necessity for comprehensive faculty and staff development programs. For instance, the results of a literature review and case study of Mt. Hood Community College led Gratton and Walleri (1993) to conclude, "An integrated systems approach, with staff vitality at the center, can increase success of management initiatives and an institutional effectiveness program," (p.36). In addition, they state, "None of these practices will lead to sustained effectiveness, if continuous staff development is not in place," (p.36). 

In a theoretical discussion, Oromaner (1997) argues that development activities can be viewed from within the context of organizational change. When dramatic change takes place through reorganization, restructuring, or change in mission, development activities can help continuing employees accept and adjust to the new realities and orient new employees. There also are less dramatic and nonrevolutionary shifts that require development programs. These "normal" or "routine" alterations may include gradual changes in technology, knowledge, competition, students, clients, employee benefits, or regulations concerning employees. Oromaner's (1997) final point is that rewards, forms of appreciation, and personal development opportunities should be considered in addition to financial remuneration. 


In their useful NCSPOD manual, Growing Your Own Staff Development Program, Burnstad, Hoss, and McHargue (1993) point to the growing awareness within community colleges of the connection between institutional mission and staff, program, and organizational development. They also point to the importance of the inclusion of administrators, faculty, and support staff within the term "staff." The program at Hudson County Community College (HCCC) has been influenced by this view and reflects the mission-driven nature of the program and the diversity of the activities suggested by Burnstad, Hoss, and McHargue (Oromaner, MacPherson & Lopez, 1997). In 1993, the Board of Trustees of HCCC adopted a mission statement that called for the transformation of the college from a limited-mission career oriented institution to a comprehensive community college. The general goal of the Faculty and Staff Development Council is to support and initiate programs and activities that serve the college's new mission statement. These can be placed within four categories: 

1. Community Building - Activities and opportunities that either support a sense of community among employees or help to integrate employees into the larger community college world (e.g., convocation, membership in national organizations). 

2. Professional Growth - Activities and programs that have a direct relationship to the role performance of employees (e.g., educational opportunities, small grants, workshops). 

3. Personal Growth - Activities and programs that have a direct impact on the growth of employees as individuals and as employees (e.g., benefits workshops, health information programs). 

4. Recognition and Appreciation - Activities and programs that enable the college community to formally acknowledge the extraordinary contributions of colleagues (e.g., professional educator of the year, monthly recognition in college publication). 

Institutions will prioritize these categories in accordance with their missions and resources. 


A college may begin a development program by asking the what, where, who, and how questions. In addition, these questions must be revisited as the institutional environment, mission, goals, objectives, and resources change. 

What? - There is consensus that a development program should enhance attitudes, skills, knowledge and performance of employees. However, every program must face the "person vs. role" issue. Does the program enhance the person as a whole or as a player in a particular role? To what degree are resources available for both? 

Where? - If the program is to serve all employee categories it must be seen as a "neutral" office. To the degree possible, it should be perceived as independent of the major divisions within the organization (e.g., academic affairs or administration and finance). 

Who? - Who is to be served by the development program? At HCCC there is a comprehensive program that includes all development activities and serves all employee categories. To reflect the latter point, the original title of the advisory committee was changed from "Staff Development Committee" to "Faculty and Staff Development Council." "Staff" was meant to be inclusive. However, faculty representatives suggested that a number of their colleagues did not feel that this term included them. Therefore, they recommended that the title be changed. This may appear to be a minor point. However, if members of a group feel that they have not been included, the program will not achieve its potential. In addition, meaningful programs for staff, adjunct faculty, and contracted personnel present serious challenges for comprehensive development programs at community colleges. 

How? - Burnstad, Hoss, and McHargue (1993) provide sage advice on this important question: "Several campus colleagues should advise you and your program.... The committee members will contribute good ideas of their own and help you solicit other ones. They will also provide you with more credibility and increase the sense of 'ownership' by your campus colleagues," (p. 23). The development program/officer must also have the strong public support of the president. 

In addition to these four questions, each institution must confront the issue of faculty and staff participation. Efforts to increase participation range from reliance on internalized professional and career norms and values concerning development to formal requirements written into individual development plans and collective bargaining agreements. Monetary incentives also have proven quite successful. For instance, adjunct faculty at HCCC are paid a $25.00 stipend for each in-house faculty workshop they attend. 


Examples of successful faculty and staff development programs and activities are found throughout the community college sector. The challenge facing each college is to implement and integrate programs that cross divisional lines and are responsive to its mission and all of its employee groups. 


Brown, A. L. Jr., Daniels, J. & Sanchez, R. (1996, May). "Bridges and Barriers to Faculty Vitality: The Grossmont College Project, 1995-1996." Paper presented at the Annual National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Conference, Austin, TX. (ED 396 797) 

Burnstad, H. M. (1994). "Management of Human Resources in the Community College." In G.A. Baker III (Ed.), A Handbook on the Community College in America: Its History, Mission, and Management (pp. 386-395). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. 

Burnstad, H. M., Hoss, C. & McHargue, M. (1993). Growing Your Own Staff Development Program. National Council for Staff, Program and Organizational Development. 

Foote, E. (1996). "ERIC Review - Faculty Development in Community Colleges." Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 20(1), 89-93. (EJ 518 558) 

Gratton, M. & R. D. Walleri. (1993). "An Integrated Systems Approach in Support of Institutional Effectiveness: The Roles of Staff and Organization Development and Institutional Research." The Journal of Staff, Program, & Organization Development, 11(1), 35-47. (ED 379 040) 

Gross, E. K. & R. H. Stovall. (1994, May). "Valencia Community College Faculty Academy: Preparing New Faculty for Tenure." Paper presented at the Annual National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Conference, Austin, TX. (ED 381 213) 

Kapp, C., Healy, M., Nellisen, C., Mihevc, B., deWinter Hebron, C. & Watt, H. (1996). "Developing Faculty Developers: Some Issues When Recruiting New Faculty Developers and Ensuring the Professional Growth of Current Faculty Developers." The Journal of Staff, Program, & Organization Development, 13(4), 229-239. (ED 409 953) 

O'Banion, T. (1997). Creating More Learning - Centered Community Colleges. Mission Viejo, CA: League for Innovation in the Community College. 

Oromaner, M. (1997, February). Staff Development and Organizational Change (Report 97.03-SR). Jersey City, NJ: Office of Planning and Institutional Research, Hudson County Community College. (ED 405 917) 

Oromaner, M., MacPherson, L. & Lopez, E. (1997, October). Contributions of a Comprehensive Faculty and Staff Development Program to a Comprehensive Community College (Report 97.09-SR). Jersey City, NJ: Office of Planning and Institutional Research, Hudson County Community College. 

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