3 Practical Training Courses for Community College Faculty

Community College Faculty Training

Posted on 2 February 2016 |

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As you know, working in higher education is very different than a traditional office job. But even within higher education, there are differences between 4-year universities and community colleges.

“Two-year schools have their own culture, their own way of looking at things, and their own set of customs and norms.” —Rob Jenkins, associate professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College

For example, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that 70 percent of community college faculty was part-time in 2001 while only 34 percent of 4-year university faculty was part-time. In fact, part-time faculty teach approximately 58 percent of U.S. community college classes.

Also, community colleges are on the brink of some significant changes. The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) points out that within the next few years, many faculty and staff members will depart for retirement:

“Vacancies created from retirements may be used to increase diversity in leaders and faculty and to be more reflective of the communities these colleges serve. This time also provides an opportunity to hire or promote energetic new leaders and workers with new ideas that will help colleges respond to the new demands on higher education institutions.”

To help faculty, especially during this transitional period, many community colleges offer professional development courses. But beyond professional development, there are additional types of training that faculty will need to thrive in their positions.

These three types of training offer the right balance of practical knowledge and skills that community college faculty members need for success.

1. Discrimination & Harassment Prevention

As mentioned before, the community college environment isn’t the same as a traditional office or 4-year university. Differing power structures and a diverse population create situations that are unique to community colleges.

For example, in the workplace, it’s not typical for one person to supervise and frequently grade the work of 30 or more people all by themselves. But that’s part of the job for faculty.

Additionally, the Department of Education reported that there are greater percentages of black and Hispanic faculty than at public or private 4-year institutions. Also, there are more women faculty and staff members at community colleges than at 4-year colleges.

Finally, community colleges frequently enroll relatively large percentages of minority students and students outside the traditional age range compared with 4-year institutions.

And since many community college faculty members are part-time and have jobs outside of teaching, they may not know how to navigate these situations. They also might not understand how unconscious biases affect their perceptions and actions.

That’s why it’s important to provide them with discrimination and harassment prevention training. The training should teach your faculty:

  • About the different protected classes
  • What constitutes unlawful harassment
  • Strategies for combating and removing unconscious bias
  • The school’s zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment
  • Laws that prevent discrimination
  • The consequences of retaliation

Most importantly, faculty and staff should understand their role in preventing and responding to harassment or discrimination at your school.

2. Mobile Technology

college faculty trainingThe next generation of students will have more experience than ever with mobile devices and technology—faculty and staff need to be ready.

According to an article from e.Republic’s education intelligence advisory institute, Center for Digital Education,  Dustin R. Loeffler, an assistant professor at Maryville University, commented: "It's absolutely critical not just to invest in a technology or devices, but also in the training and tools to make faculty better able to use that technology.”

Luke Bennett, instructional designer at the University of Central Florida's Center for Distributed Learning, gave his recommendations to Campus Technology magazine for colleges considering a mobile technology training program for faculty:

  • Faculty need to look at course goals and decide if integrating mobile technology will support student outcomes
  • Create a plan that adds mobile learning experiences at a pace which faculty feel comfortable.
  • Providing technical, design and pedagogical support if mobile integration is expected

The important thing to remember is that faculty needs to be trained on two main things: how to work and use mobile technology, and how to integrate mobile technology into their teaching pedagogy.

3. Orientation & Onboarding

One of the similarities between office-style workplaces and higher education is the need for engagement. The more faculty are engaged in their work, the better it is for student success and the overall success of your institution. And engagement is especially important for community colleges because the majority of faculty is part-time.

To help increase engagement, faculty need comprehensive orientation and onboarding training. There are several basic things to include such as:

  • The mission and values of the college
  • Harassment prevention training
  • Job duties and expectations
  • Safety training
  • Email and communication technologies

But there are also additional considerations. University Business explores the many different ways higher education institutions are approaching orientation and onboarding training. Some of the highlights include:

  • Once a month group sessions that are longer, but include more in-depth content such as access academic records or get help from IT.
  • Online training with weekly modules that make it easy for faculty to get through the program on their own time and at their own pace.
  • Pairing more experienced faculty with new faculty members to help support them as they take the training.

Columbus State Community College is also approaching onboarding training in a creative way. The college has a session each month that highlights a different college division—marketing, academic affairs, human resources, etc.—and how they support student success.


There are many differences and challenges that are unique to community colleges. And the success of faculty depends on many factors. One way you can show your faculty that you are invested in them is to provide training.

Harassment and discrimination training, mobile technology training, and orientation and onboarding training are three easy places to start, and there are many other types of that can help your faculty.

To learn more about our harassment and discrimination prevention training for community college faculty, fill out the form on the right.

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