Date of Award

8-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Higher Education Administration

Major Professor

Norma Mertz

Committee Members

Margaret Sallee, Vincent Anfara, Michael Lane Morris, Trena Paulus

Abstract

Research has established that college faculty at research institutions often struggle to maintain a balance between their personal and professional lives (Drago & Williams, 2000; Mason & Goulden, 2002, 2004; Quinn, 2010; Sorcinelli & Near, 1989; Ward & Wolf-Wendel, 2004). While some work/life research has focused on two-year faculty, the research on community college faculty and work/life balance issues has often proved contradictory (Lester & Bers, 2010; Perna, 2001; Sallee, 2008; Townsend & LaPaglia, 2000; Wolf-Wendel, Ward, & Twombly, 2007). Furthermore, little is known about how community college culture and discipline affect the ability of two-year faculty to balance their professional and personal lives. While many theories of socialization have been utilized to explain faculty work (Bess, 1978; Merton, 1957; Tierney & Rhoads, 1994; Van Maanen & Schein, 1979) and disciplinary culture (Austin, 1990; Becher, 1984, 1987; Biglan, 1973; Clark, 1987; Kuh & Whitt, 1988; Tierney, 1990), this body of literature has not often focused on community college faculty.

The purpose of this study was to gain a greater understanding of community college faculty work/life balance issues. As a result, I sought to gain a greater understanding of how academic socialization affects community college faculty. Furthermore, I investigated if these changes in socialization patterns produce a culture that presents work/life challenges unique to the community college. Finally, I sought to interrogate the degree to which discipline affects work/life challenges.

Data were collected through interviews with 11 full-time community college faculty members from both science and English who had a least one child. The findings revealed Southern State faculty members struggled to balance their personal and professional lives due to time demands associated with faculty workload and family life. The results also indicated that issues associated with instruction often led to work/life issues among the science faculty, while grading was the biggest work/life stressor among the English faculty. Tierney and Rhoads’ (1994) concept of faculty socialization and culture also proved helpful in identifying the causes and patterns of faculty behavior crucial to understanding work/life balance issues specific to community college work.

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