PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN
ISSUES AND CONCERNS
The coordination of professional development across the multi-campus CCBC is a new initiative which raises issues and concerns associated with how to implement a professional development plan. Some issues include accountability, budgetary restraints, duplication of programming, and differentiation of services.
All members of the learning-centered community are to be provided with opportunities for professional development. The extensive nature of addressing individual, campus-wide, and overall institutional needs calls for accountability by all members of the CCBC community to ensure effectiveness of services, programming, and use of funds. Accountability must be realized on all levels as follows:
annual personal professional development goals and objectives of individuals (classified and support staff, faculty, administrative and supervisory staff)
campus-wide programs (departments, divisions, administrative cost centers)
college-wide programs (Chancellor and Cabinet and other implementers of college-wide programming)
Strategies for implementing and assessing accountability measures should be centered around how the activity, service, or training supports CCBC's focus on enhancing the learning-centered community college, especially in terms of how the services or training will foster student learning as an outcome.
There are two primary sources for funding for professional development activities: the operating budget and auxiliary services funds. Many professional development activities are funded from "conferences and meetings" expenditures which include community outreach events and other activities. The expenditure of these funds must be defended in the regular budgetary approval process through the Baltimore County Executive and the County Council. Addition funds for professional development are currently derived from a percentage of the funds gained from auxiliary services (bookstore, vending machines, cafeteria, etc.) on each campus.
Budgetary issues must be acknowledged and addressed in order for professional development plans to be realized, consistently implemented, and, for such initiatives to be of a quality nature. CCBC has adopted a focus which embraces every member of the college community as a learner. Therefore, it is essential that professional development funds be designated to support this thrust of enhancement of professional skills and competencies. Factors to weigh and consider are:
Degree of Campus Autonomy
Autonomy has been granted to the individual campus presidents in the use of campus earmarked funds. Such a system allows for the matching of funds to campus priorities but does not necessarily create a comprehensive program of professional development college-wide.
Executive Level Planning
Other monetary resources for professional development are situated within the budgets of the members of the Chancellor's Cabinet. Minimal funds may also be available within divisions and cost centers (e.g., funds to attend a conference). Before professional development plans are initiated and implemented, it is essential that clarification be provided as to how decisions will be made for the spending of funds in relationship to professional development.
Remuneration of Employees
General college guidelines are needed to provide clarity to issues such as whether college employees should be paid to teach professional development sessions/ classes and, if so, under which circumstances this should occur and how remuneration should be determined.
Closely related to budgetary issues is the consideration of a centralized model of professional development versus a decentralized model.
Decentralized Model: A decentralized model would suggest that professional funds would continue to be spread among a number of units and each campus. In a decentralized model, each campus of CCBC would establish an advisory committee comprised of the diversity of constituents that make up the learning environment. In a decentralized model each campus committee would make decisions about the use of funds on that campus for professional development. Someone would be designated as the coordinator of the committee in order to assist the campus president in the planning and implementation of campus professional development activities.
Centralized Model: A centralized model would put more emphasis upon one central fund that would support campus-based and college-wide programming. This model would require a change in current CCBC Board of Trustees policy regarding the disbursement of auxiliary funds for professional development.
Funding for a Professional Development Coordinator on Each Campus
A further budgetary issue is support for an individual to coordinate professional development on each campus. This person would serve to help plan, publicize, implement and evaluate professional development activities, as well as help implement and communicate college-wide programs and activities goals and priorities, as determined by the Professional Development Advisory Council, to the campus level.
There are several ways of choosing an individual to serve in this coordinator role. One strategy for ensuring continuity across all three campuses of CCBC is to use reassignment time. This approach, however, would limit the opportunity to those who are eligible for reassignment -- chiefly faculty. Another strategy would be to assign an individual to the task as a part of their job duties. While this strategy has merit, this choice may result in administrators holding this position on all campuses.
Clearly, there must be provision for faculty, classified staff and administrators to be involved in the coordination of professional development activities in order that all constituencies will feel included in the decision making and in recognition of the coordination role as itself a professional growth opportunity.
Avoiding Unnecessary Duplication of Programming
Another issue for consideration is that of duplication of programming. With a multi-campus focus on professional development, it is quite feasible that without a coordinated effort, services could easily be duplicated across the College in an unproductive manner. It is true that, depending on the initiative, a particular workshop or training could be scheduled to take place on each campus; however, when this occurs it should be because it was planned that way and was not a circumstance of one campus not knowing what another was doing.
This type of unplanned duplication can be eliminated by creating a structure to coordinate the efforts of those planning such programming. Depending on the nature of the activity, it could be offered on one, two, or possibly all three campuses. The deciding factors should be influenced by the goal of the activity, the number of people expected to participate, and the cost. For example, if a well-known speaker is sought and there is a sizable cost factor, one presentation on one campus may be the only option with the other two campuses being well-informed of the event. Hands-on, interactive workshops with in-house facilitators could be more widely available than a one-time, one-campus event.
Another issue for consideration is that of program differentiation. Although there are common goals in existence among all three campuses, there may be good reasons to differentiate some programming by campus. The historical autonomy that each campus has enjoyed may complicate the execution of new initiatives college-wide. Student learners might vary on a particular campus and the needs and priorities of campus faculty, staff, and administrators may differ from other campuses. Therefore, it can be foreseen that unique training and professional development needs will arise as individuals, departments, divisions, and various committees make plans campus-by-campus. Varying plans and methodologies for implementation anticipated across the CCBC system could yield beneficial, responsive results as a diversity of constituents contribute ideas and implementation strategies.
The question becomes how to collaborate yet accommodate autonomy as needed or desired. The College has reaped the benefits of becoming one entity in making functional areas. There is no reason to believe that professional development functions would not benefit from more collaboration and coordination between the campuses
One answer would be that campus professional development programs or plans must be goal-oriented, based on a needs-assessment, and coordinated through an individual who becomes part of a larger college-wide coordination effort.
A final issue was uncovered during focus group sessions with employee groups in January 1999. Many faculty and staff commented upon an outdated and inadequate reimbursement system for courses taken outside of the College. The current level of funding is not adequate given today's costs for technical, baccalaureate, graduate and postgraduate coursework.
Another related concern is the lack of consistent guidelines when employees wish to take CCBC courses for their own professional development and career advancement. Beyond some question about remission of certain continuing education course fees, there is a need for a consistent policy about taking coursework only offered during one's work day.
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