Faculty In Training
Graduate Students and Postgraduates
Graduate students and postgraduates seeking opportunities to teach at the college level often are unaware of the community college as a professional area to explore and consider as a career option. GTCC’s program is designed to encourage enthusiastic, intelligent people to consider a teaching career in community colleges by providing accepted candidates with teaching experience in a mentored and supportive environment. Through program elements focusing on professional development, a weekly seminar, and classroom observation, the teaching associates accepted into the program gain pedagogical skills and grounding in community college philosophy, so they may determine whether to pursue careers at the community college level.
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Original Program Name
Originally referred to as a “Teaching Assistant” program, the FIT program was instituted in the English/Humanities Department in the fall of 1999, to fill the need for qualified adjuncts for English teaching positions. Among our reasons for instituting and maintaining the program were the following:
- Competition for adjuncts in the area is stiff, given the nine area colleges where adjuncts may seek employment.
- Community College faculty members are aging out/retiring. At the point of creation, our department, for example, had lost three faculty members to retirement within the past year.
- Our original three TA’s outperformed adjuncts & even some fulltime faculty, according to selected questions from student evaluations of teaching, encouraging us to continue the program.
- In 2000, an expanded understanding of our goals & potential led us to rename our participants as “Teaching Associate.”
- With the exception of two, somewhat different, training programs for community college faculty, there are no other Faculty-in-Training programs that we know of. Ours is unique in that it is based entirely in a community college.
What are the Teaching Associate’s Responsibilities?
- Attend a two-week program orientation.
- Prepare assigned courses.
- Teach two freshman-level courses each semester of appointment.
- Work three professional hours each week as assigned to the Writing Center and/or other professional activity.
- Attend a weekly seminar with the Program Coordinator and cohort members.
- Work with assigned faculty mentor.
- Participate in department meetings as required.
- Observe classes and be observed.
Typically, participants admitted to the program have been eager because they:
- Have been interested in community college teaching but didn’t know how to pursue it beyond applying as adjunct instructors.
- Could not teach college classes independently because they lacked experience.
- Were interested in earning income while gaining teaching experience.
After several conference presentations, both regional and national, and two articles published in TETYC, we found that our program is a trendsetter, and this has encouraged us to make GTCC a center for community college faculty training. To implement this desire, we:
- Met with the graduate dean & representatives of several University of North Carolina-Greensboro departments (history, geography, sociology, math, Spanish) to explore interest in departments other than English.
- Established an arrangement with UNCG whereby the English department there awards credit to UNCG master’s program students in English who participate in our program.
- Have explored and are progressing towards a Certificate of Community College Teaching through the UNCG Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
- Took three TAs in history and one in English in Fall 2001.
- Linked program information & application materials to the Human Resources site at GTCC.
This has led to numerous inquiries for positions in other fields.
As a result, we have expanded in the following ways:
- Fall 2002 program:
5 English, 2 religion, & 1 history trainees
- Fall 2003 program:
3 history, 1 political science, 3 English, 1 advertising & graphic design, 1 computer information systems trainees
- Fall 2004 program:
4 English, 1 history, 1 religion, 1 philosophy, 2 computer information systems trainees
- Fall 2005 program: 4 English, 1 religion, 1 philosophy, 1 history trainees
- Fall 2006 program: e English, 2 biology, 1 advertising & graphic design, 1 Humanities, 1 sociology, 1 religion, 1 business, 1 developmental English trainees
- Fall 2007 program: 5 English, 2 biology, 1 geology, 1 Humanities, 1 nursing, 1 sociology, 2 psychology, 1 anthropology trainees
- Fall 2008 program: 4 English, 2 biology, 1 history, 1 psychology, 1 developmental English trainees
- Fall 2009 program: 5 English, 1 biology, 1 psychology, 2 sociology, 1 history trainees
- Fall 2010 program: 4 English, 1 biology, 3 psychology, 1 religion, 1 history, 1 communication trainees
- Fall 2012 program: 3 English, 1 biology, 1 anthropology, 2 religion trainees
- Fall 2013 program: 1 English, 1 developmental English, 2 biology, 1 computer information systems, 1 psychology, and 1 religion trainee