The Challenge of Teaching Career & Technical Education Courses

They Never Said It Would Be Easy

There are so many challenges associated with teaching Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses.  In case you are not familiar with term, these include coursework in disciplines like computer technology, electronics technology, Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and automotive maintenance just to name of few.  More often than not, these courses include both lecture and lab work.  The lab component is one area where new adjuncts may struggle, and that is one of the issues I will address in the future.  Another challenge for those of you teaching CTE courses is that you were hired because of your knowledge and experience in the discipline, not because you have considerable teaching experience.  The challenges confronted by a first-time CTE instructor will also be addressed, as will advice to keep you from, to use the vernacular, not crashing and burning.  CTE students themselves may present a challenge for some instructors.  Many CTE students are gifted when it comes to working with their hands, but the “book learning” doesn’t come easily.  Strategies for dealing with and helping these students will be included in future posts.

© 2010 Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.









About Dr. Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

My name is Paul Hummel, and I often introduce myself to others as a recovering engineer. If you are familiar with the Dilbert cartoons, let me simply say that I lived all of that. I started my college saga at Illinois Institute of Technology. Eventually, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management. I worked for many years in industry, and during this time I did some college adjunct teaching. During my career I held several managerial positions in industry, the last as Director of Technology of a division of a Fortune 500 corporation. Then, in 1996, with minimal planning or forethought, I found myself working as a manufacturing consultant on behalf of Elgin Community College (ECC).

My career in higher education began to take shape. I fell in love with ECC and with the mission of community colleges in general. I worked fulltime and occasionally taught college courses for my institution and two other colleges. After a couple years I set a goal to move over to the “credit side of the college” and eventually become a college administrator. In 2006, having earned my doctorate in education, I achieved that goal. I was hired by Waubonsee Community College as Dean for Technology, Mathematics and Physical Sciences.

I have had the great fortune of working at two excellent colleges. The insights I want to share are drawn from the various college positions I have held. At ECC, in addition to my consulting role, I coordinated non-credit professional development training programs for three years and spent four years advising students in the TRiO Student Support Services program. That position helped me understand college education from the perspective of today’s college students.

After seven years at Waubonsee, I retired April 30, 2013. I now devote my knowledge and skills to upgrading and expanding the websites I created beginning with Adjunct Assistance. I have three other websites: College Teaching Tips, Keys for College Success and Lighthouse for Learning. A lot of work lies ahead for me in terms of upgrading and expanding each of these websites, but I could not be more excited about fulfilling the vision I have for helping college instructors and their students succeed.


Comments

The Challenge of Teaching Career & Technical Education Courses — 3 Comments

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