Program History

Graduate Students and Postgraduates

Graduate students and postgraduates seeking opportunities to teach at the college level often are unaware of the community college as a professional area to explore and consider as a career option. GTCC's program is designed to encourage enthusiastic, intelligent people to consider a teaching career in community colleges by providing accepted candidates with teaching experience in a mentored and supportive environment. Through program elements focusing on professional development, a weekly seminar, and classroom observation, the teaching associates accepted into the program gain pedagogical skills and grounding in community college philosophy, so they may determine whether to pursue careers at the community college level.

Original Program Name

Originally referred to as a "Teaching Assistant" program, the FIT program was instituted in the English/Humanities Department in the fall of 1999, to fill the need for qualified adjuncts for English teaching positions. Among our reasons for instituting & maintaining the program were the following:

  • Competition for adjuncts in the area is stiff, given the 9 area colleges where adjuncts may seek employment.
  • Community College faculty members are aging out/retiring. Our department, for example, has lost 3 faculty members to retirement within the past year.
  • Our original 3 TA's outperformed adjuncts & even some fulltime faculty, according to selected questions from student evaluations of teaching, encouraging us to continue the program.
  • In 2000 an expanded understanding of our goals & potential led us to rename our participants as "Teaching Associate."
  • With the exception of two, somewhat different, training programs for community college faculty, there are no other Faculty-in-Training programs that we know of. Ours is unique in that it is based entirely in a community college

What are the Teaching Associate's Responsibilities?

  • Attend a two-week program orientation.
  • Thoughtfully prepare assigned courses.
  • Teach two freshman courses each semester of appointment.
  • Work three professional hours each week as assigned to the Writing Center and/or other professional activity.
  • Prepare for and attend a weekly seminar with the Program Director.
  • Work with assigned faculty mentor.
  • Attend department meetings as required. Observe classes and be observed.

Typical Participants

Typically, participants admitted to the program have been eager because they:

  • Have been interested in community college teaching but didn't know how to pursue it beyond applying as adjunct instructors.
  • Could not teach college classes independently because they had not completed a graduate degree.
  • Were interested in earning income while gaining teaching experience.

The Results

After several conference presentations, both regional and national, & 2 articles published in TETYC, we found that our program is a trendsetter, and this has encouraged us to make GTCC a center for community college faculty training. To implement this desire, we:

  • Met with the graduate dean & representatives of several University of North Carolina-Greensboro departments (history, Geography, Sociology, Math, Spanish) to explore interest in departments other than English.
  • Established an arrangement with UNCG whereby the English department there awards credit to UNCG master's program students in English who participate in our program. We expect the History Department at UNCG to follow suit with master's candidates in history as well.
  • Have explored and are progressing towards a Certificate of Community College Teaching through the UNCG Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
  • Took 3 TAs in history and 1 in English, Fall 2001
  • Linked Program information & application materials to the Human Resources site at GTCC.

This has led to numerous inquiries for positions in other fields.
As a result, we have expanded in the following ways:

  • Fall 2002 program:
    5 English, 2 religion, & 1 history trainees
  • Fall 2003 program:
    3 history, 1 political science, 3 English, 1 advertising & graphic design, 1 computer information systems trainees
  • Fall 2004 program:
    4 English, 1 history, 1 religion, 1 philosophy, 2 computer information systems trainees
  • Fall 2005 program: 4 English, 1 religion, 1 philosophy, 1 history
  • Fall 2006 program: e English, 2 biology, 1 advertising & graphic design, 1 Humanities, 1 sociology, 1 religion, 1 business, 1 developmental English
  • Fall 2007 program:  5 English, 2 biology, 1 geology, 1 Humanities, 1 nursing, 1 sociology, 2 psychology, 1 anthropology
  • Fall 2008 program: 4 English, 2 biology, 1 history, 1 psychology, 1 developmental English
  • Fall 2009 program: 5 English, 1 biology, 1 psychology, 2 sociology, 1 history
  • Fall 2010 program: 4 English, 1 biology, 3 psychology, 1 religion, 1 history, 1 communication
  • Fall 2012 program: 3 English, 1 biology, 1 anthropology, 2 religion