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Exploratory Analysis of Factors Related to the Implementation of Guidelines Governing "Faculty Support" For Online Programs in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Accreditation Region Open Access

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Abstract of DissertationExploratory Analysis of Factors Related to the Implementation of Guidelines Governing "Faculty Support" For Online Programs in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Accreditation RegionThis associational study was designed to determine if specific distance learning program demographic factors influenced the implementation and application of the 2002 guidelines established by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) on "faculty support" for online programs at 4-year public and 4-year private postsecondary institutions in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation region. This study looked at one set of hypotheses addressing the relationship between the 2002 guidelines governing faculty support for online faculty and five demographic factors (Age of Distance Education Program, Type of Degrees Offered by the Institution, Number of Students Enrolled in Distance Education Program, Institution Size and Institution Type). The conceptual framework for this study was the CHEA's 2002 guidelines outlining the procedure or action of implementing and evaluating the guidelines governing faculty support. This study employed a quantitative research design, specifically, a non-experimental Cross Sectional Survey using Multiple Regression/Correlation Analysis. Likert-type scale questions were used to ascertain the faculty perspective on how their institution was implementing or applying the 2002 guideline governing "Faculty Support". The alpha (α) for this study was .05.This study's main results indicated that in general the faculty members are "not sure" if their institutions are implementing the 2002 CHEA guidelines governing support for online faculty. There was a statistically significant relationship with one of the five distance learning program demographics and one of the guideline components "after" the adoption of the guidelines. Implications for practice were derived from this study's findings for the CHEA, institutions, and policy-makers. The current study was limited by some factors. This study reveals that policy guidelines governing faculty support for those teaching online are not being implemented well within institutions, which is both an important finding for institutions and the organizations issuing the guidelines. This study demonstrates that it is imperative to ensure that a policy does not generate an atmosphere of "not sure" when its intent is to ensure quality in distance education.

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