Economy, academy, and community college faculty : a mission survey
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In the face of 21st century economic challenges, community colleges must contend with complex pressures on their mission. The dueling missions of academic transfer and workforce preparation must sustain and grow the American economy in a global market and simultaneously meet the promise to community college students— open access to quality higher education for all. In the midst of this challenging environment, community college faculty attitudes and awareness to mission challenges are often ignored. This study examined the macro-level effects of external pressures of the 21st century economy at the micro-level of full-time faculty at Texas community colleges. The study design followed a post-positivist paradigm and sought generalizeable data about full-time faculty from Texas community colleges. Quantitative data from an online survey were analyzed to determine faculty awareness of and attitudes toward the community college mission. The findings of the study show that faculty blur the boundaries of what traditionally have been considered workforce and academic roles. They are not well- informed about the range of pressures on the community college, but they are willing to integrate the academic and workforce mission and change in other ways to respond to challenges. They are generally supportive of the community college mission. Faculty teach with their students’ long-term interests in mind, including career preparation and lifelong learning, more than they teach to prepare their students for immediate work in the community.