A survey of Family and Consumer Sciences Education Association members: organization affiliation and perceived professional development
Koukel, Sonja D.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the professional development needs of family and consumer sciences (FCS) professionals and to assess how member's perceived that those needs were met, fulfilled, or addressed by the Family and Consumer Sciences Education Association (FCSEA). Additionally, this research sought to provide recommendations to the Association that would, when implemented, provide the benefits and services perceived by members as being important. The FCSEA serves both to improve the quality of instruction in our nation's classrooms and provide professional development opportunities for its members. These goals are achieved through engaging in and encouraging research in family and consumer sciences education and disseminating these findings to educators. Professionals and preprofessionals within the FCS discipline are encouraged to join FCSEA for a variety of reasons; the Association creates a network between professionals and offers publications that keep educators informed about current events, teaching techniques, and legislation that might affect FCS programs. Through membership, individuals are provided opportunities for professional growth and development and outlets for demonstrating professional commitment to FCS programs, mission, and goals. For this study, FCSEA members were randomly selected from the current FCSEA membership list. Participants completed a self-report needs assessment survey designed to assess members' perceived professional development, benefits gained from membership, and ways in which the Association might function as an external resource. Results from the research indicated that members perceived the FCSEA publications available through membership to be the best sources for professional development. Respondents suggested that the Association provide more information regarding FCS curriculum and coursework. Participants also indicated that FCSEA should develop and implement an interactive web site that provided educators with access to sharing with other FCS professionals and that provided links to other resources. Respondents indicated a need for FCSEA to do more in the areas of marketing the profession and providing networking with professionals outside the discipline. Additionally, members believed it important for the Association to market itself to professionals within the discipline who were not current members or had not retained membership. It is suggested that FCSEA use these data for identifying members' professional development needs in order to attract new members, retain current members, and enjoy a stronger professional organization.