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The reasons for the growth of interest are numerous. Undoubtedly, as resources become increasingly scarce and students more diverse, community college leaders wish to develop programs aimed at efficiently developing effective teachers. Recently this has meant enhancing faculty knowledge of their respective disciplines, the pedagogy of those disciplines, and the skills and strategies necessary to provide effective instruction (Austin, 2003) . However, community college leaders also must consider how to accomplish these goals within the unique mission of the community college. Because few graduate programs prepare their students for teaching in community colleges, many new faculty will be unfamiliar with the history and philosophy of the community college. In other words, many will be unaware of and unprepared for the challenges of teaching in an open-door institution. When community college faculty who are unsatisfied with their careers are interviewed, the most frequent causes of dissatisfaction stem from a failure to understand the diversity of the community college student body, the intense workload, and the emphasis that community colleges place on teaching and learning.
Until the 1970’s the purpose of faculty development was primarily to strengthen the research skills of the faculty, thereby enhancing the reputation of the colleges. In the late 1960s, two occurrences converged to change the focus of faculty development from developing researchers to developing teachers. First, the students of the 1960s agitated for curricula changes that forever altered the face of higher education. These students demanded that professors be more responsive to their needs and that colleges open their doors to a diverse population. Both changes demanded new pedagogies. Second, the exponential growth of community colleges with the primary mission of teaching created a need for faculty who understood the mission of community colleges and who could also teach within a specific academic discipline.
These changes over time mean that today faculty development programs have several goals. The first goal is to create enthusiasm in early career faculty by orienting them to the community college mission and encouraging their continued development as teachers and learners. The next goal is to address the needs of middle/late career faculty and thus prevent stagnation and burnout while improving the curriculum, increasing the use of new technology and revitalizing the institution. The overarching goal for all professional development activities is to improve teaching and learning.