Community College Faculty in 2020 (Research study)
Information on how to enroll is available at the bottom of this page.
Welcome to this page! If you are here, I'm guessing you've found out that my colleagues and thought partners Dr. Amanda (Mandy) Latz, Dr. Zoë Thornton, and I are conducting a research study on how community college faculty roles are changing in the midst of 2020. By 2020, we mean all of it--COVID-19, the economic downturn, the subsequent upheaval we are experiencing in education (Hyflex, anyone?), #BlackLivesMatter and the continued struggle to combat white supremacy.
My name is Dr. Amanda O. Latz (Mandy, she/her), and I am an Associate Professor of Higher Education and Community College Leadership at Ball State University. At Ball State, I direct the Ed.D. in Higher Education and the Graduate Certificate in Community College Leadership programs. From the fall of 2006 to the spring of 2011, I was an adjunct faculty member at Ivy Tech Community College where I taught Introduction to Cultural Anthropology and First Year Seminar. I would not be doing what I am doing now were it not for my teaching experiences within the community college sector.
Teaching and research, for me, are intertwined. Preparing for classes informs my research, and my research informs how I prepare for classes. In terms of research, I am concerned with nuanced understandings of community college faculty and students. And I aim to help administrators, policy- and decision-makers, and myriad others fosters these kinds of understandings. In addition, I am interested in advancing visual methods and methodologies within higher education (broadly) research. Kind of sounds a lot like this study, huh?
As a teacher, I draw from a broad palette of epistemologies and pedagogical approaches, which vary depending on the topic, context, learners, and desired outcomes. Generally, I ground my teaching within a constructivist and feminist epistemology. Care is central, as is a focus on liberatory and emancipatory aims.
I am so excited to work alongside you during this project! My hope is that we create a community of practice wherein radical empathy is central to our work.
Thank you! Mandy
My name is Erin Doran (she/her/hers/ella), and I am an Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Community College Leadership at Iowa State University. In Fall 2020, I will be starting my 5th year on the tenure-track there where I teach primarily in our Ed.D. program and the M.Ed. in Higher Education. From 2009 through 2016 (albeit with some gaps), I taught as an adjunct at Northeast Lakeview College (part of the Alamo Colleges system) in the San Antonio area. Like Mandy, I would not be doing what I’m doing were it not for my adjunct experiences too. Teaching night time survey history courses is what made me fall in love with community colleges.
I do a lot of research on community college faculty and their teaching because, quite frankly, I am amazed at the unsung efforts that y’all put forward every day. I am particularly interested in how faculty connect with and teach their students from minoritized communities, especially Latinx students. Right now, I’m super interested in finding out how faculty enact teaching practices like culturally sustaining pedagogy and liberatory practices that empower their students. I also try to do work that heavily centers the faculty perspective and voices because we (we = higher education researchers, policy makers, and so forth) don’t do enough listening to our faculty. This project is a learning process for me as a researcher and a chance to engage more with visual methods.
I’ll admit that I’ve felt some kind of way about doing research on faculty in the middle of 2020—knowing that this is one of the most tumultuous years of our collective lives and existence. At the same time though, I feel that community colleges have been left out of important discussions on topics like higher education’s collective response to COVID-19 and their role in advancing racial justice. I also see this as a call to action—a way to ensure that community college voices are added to the conversation in a way that is truly collaborative and communal.
In joy, Erin
Hello - My name is Zoë Mercedes Thornton. I have been with Iowa State University as an Assistant Professor of Practice (Higher Education and Community College Leadership) since Fall 2018, where I facilitate coursework in our M.Ed. and Ed.D. programs. In my faculty of practice role, I also co-coordinate two leadership development programs for new and emerging leaders in Iowa's community colleges. My own awareness of community colleges was first developed by the families I worked with many years ago as a family advocate for the Head Start program. Through them, I learned of the wealth of education and training opportunities available as well as the supports the community college provided to ensure their path to success. This led me to my first community college role in the High School Completion program, which then led to many more experiences including CTE program development, concurrent and dual enrollment, student success, and faculty support. Collectively, I spent 10 years in various roles at Des Moines Area Community College and Marshalltown Community College (IVCCD), followed by 3 years in the Division of Community Colleges & Workforce Preparation in the Iowa Department of Education.
My research interests have been informed by the experiences I’ve had and the observations I’ve made in my various roles. I am interested in the interrelationship of state policy and community colleges, workforce and economic development roles, and understanding rural community colleges as distinct institutions within the broader scope of higher education. I am passionate about community colleges: As opportunity providers, social justice pursuers, economic drivers, workforce developers, and community gatherers, I find you and your colleges and your students simply amazing. I am honored to be part of this study and look forward to learning from and with you.
How to enroll in this study
If you are interested in collaborating with us on this study, the first step is in visiting this link: https://iastate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_4SJosCl5IfJB1Yx or CLICK HERE. This link provides more information on the study and the consent form. If you choose to consent to be a part of this study, you'll be directed to a second page to provide us with contact information as well as demographic information. We are deliberately keeping the number of collaborators in this study smaller (about 25 total). If you are chosen for the study, one of us will email you to set up a time and day for the Zoom interview and to send you directions on how to complete a reflective map ahead of the interview.