Re-envisioning professional development : a case study of a California community college

Focused and sustained professional development for community college faculty is considered a critical component to improving community college student success. Without a coherent and long-term approach to professional development, faculty will be unlikely to make the types of large-scale changes necessary to improve educational equity and student success. Despite twenty-five years of policy and recommendations regarding California Community College professional development, few colleges have been able to focus and sustain professional development efforts on improving educational equity and student success. While “professional development,” in some form, exists at most colleges, few colleges have been able to focus their professional development efforts on educational equity and student success. The purpose of this case study was to examine one of the few focused and sustained professional development programs in the California Community College system to identify strategies used by college leaders to shape and sustain the professional learning. Findings indicate that college leaders, distributed across the institution, used a number of strategies within three strategic frames - institutional integration, coalition building, and an expanding view of professional learning - to shape and sustain a faculty professional learning program focused on the evolving needs of faculty, the college, and students. College leaders addressed structural factors necessary for professional development, as well as organizational factors that support a culture of professional learning. The case study provides detailed descriptions of the structural, leadership, and organizational strategies used by college leaders, as well as recommendations for other colleges, and recommendations for policy.