National Association of Industrial and Technical Teacher Educators Membership Survey Report: Comparison of 1993 and 2004 Surveys
Charles W. Gagel
University of Idaho
The National Association of Industrial and Technical Teacher Educators (NAITTE) will celebrate its 69th birthday this year. In keeping with this progression of years, the products and services of the organization are advancing as well: the Journal of Industrial Teacher Education (JITE) will turn 43, the Industrial Teacher Education Directory (ITE Directory) will turn 49, and the News and Views Newsletter will turn 26. Such a record speaks to the durability and quality of the organization. Nonetheless, NAITTE, like many other membership organizations today, is facing many challenges that threaten its long-term health and survival. This article reports the findings of the 2004 membership survey that was conducted in an effort to understand these challenges and to better meet the needs of the membership. In an attempt to provide some perspective on the new findings, the article incorporates a comparison with the 1993 survey conducted by Patrick Miller (1993).
The method by which the 2004 survey was conducted was similar to the survey of 1993. A self-administered questionnaire was employed by both surveys. In the 1993 survey, the survey instrument was developed by then NAITTE Trustee Patrick Miller and then reviewed by a panel of "five NAITTE members and two senior research methodologists from the National Opinion Research Center" (Miller, 1993). The 2004 survey was developed by the NAITTE Executive Committee under the direction of then NAITTE President, Charles Gagel. The 2004 survey was derived from the 1993 survey using a Delphi Technique to reach consensus on the kinds and number of questions to be included on the final survey. Overall, the two surveys were very similar in subject matter content, although the 1993 survey contained 25 questions divided into 10 categories, while the 2004 survey contained 34 questions divided into 5 categories (see Table 1).
|Question Categories||No. of questions||Question Categories||No. of questions|
|Background||2||Background & Participation||7|
|Mission||2||Name, Mission, & Structure||7|
|Name/Structure||2||Publications & Products||11|
|Publications (General)||2||Conference & Program||6|
|Publications (News & Views)||3|
|Publications (ITE Directory)||2|
The specific questions of the 2004 survey are listed below. An asterisk (*) following a question number denotes a very similarly worded or targeted question on the 1993 survey instrument. The results of these similar questions will be compared later in this article.
NAITTE Background and Participation
- * How many years have you been a member of NAITTE?
- What is your present membership classification?
- What is your present position?
- * NAITTE is organized into four divisional areas. Please indicate the division to which you belong or are most closely aligned.
- In what NAITTE activities have you participated in the past 5 years?
- * Given NAITTE's overall rising costs, how much above your present annual membership fee would you be willing to pay in continuing your support of NAITTE?
- NAITTE does not have a special rate for retirees. Would you participate in a retiree rate if there was one?
NAITTE Name, Mission, and Structure
- * Does the name "National Association of Industrial and Technical Teacher Educators" reflect NAITTE's mission for the 21st century?
NAITTE's Mission Statement: The Association advances and promotes excellence in industrial and technical teacher education and trainer training in all settings. The Association accomplishes this goal by providing opportunities for professional improvement for its members, promoting cooperation among related groups in the field, and serving as authority on and advocate for industrial and technical teacher education and trainer training.
- *Given the mission statement above, is the mission appropriate for guiding NAITTE in the 21st century?
- *Given the mission statement above, should teacher educators and trainer educators remain the primary NAITTE beneficiaries in the 21st century?
- *With the closing of the Technical Education Division within ACTE, should NAITTE retain Technical Education as a division?
- *NAITTE has five standing committees. Please rate the quality of work provided by the following committees:
Auditing Committee - The auditing committee exists to ensure that the financial records of the Association are maintained in accordance with accepted account practices and that the records kept by the Treasurer accurately reflect the activities of the Association.
Awards Committee - The Awards Committee exists to ensure that individuals who have made substantial contributions to NAITTE receive appropriate recognition for those contributions, through established procedures and in a timely manner.
Membership Committee - The Membership Committee exists to ensure continuity of membership for current members, recruit new members, maintain accurate membership records, and otherwise promote the Association within the profession.
Nominating Committee - The Nominating Committee exists to ensure that qualified candidates for NAITTE offices are nominated and elected through established procedures.
Research Committee - The Research Committee exists to promote research and development activities within NAITTE, establish policy for such research, and to sponsor NAITTE/ACTE Divisional Research Sessions.
- * Because NAITTE's present membership is less than 175 and that many members work across two or more fields of study, it has been suggested that our divisional structure is no longer suitable. Should NAITTE retain a divisional structure?
- * Rank order the following actions for increasing NAITTE's membership.
- Letter campaign
- Face-to-face contacts
- Establish membership recruitment
- Establish institutional directors
- Affiliate with a different organization
- Offer additional or different services
NAITTE Publications and Products
- * Printing costs - approximately $2200.00 per issue - associated with the publication of the Journal of Industrial Teacher Education (JITE) is NAITTE's largest financial responsibility. With four issues per year, coupled with reduced membership (as well as reduced manuscript submission), staying financially solvent has become a serious challenge. Please rank order the following options in order of your preference.
- Continue publishing 4 issues of the JITE per year in paperback form.
- Reduce the number of issues of the JITE per year and retain the paperback form.
- Continue publishing 4 issues of the JITE per year but change to an electronic format with 1 complete volume printed per year.
- Reduce the number of issues of the JITE per year and change to an electronic format with 1 complete volume printed per year.
- Continue publishing 4 issues of the JITE per year but change to a fully electronic format.
- Reduce the number of issues of the JITE per year and change to a fully electronic format.
- * If a reduction in the number of JITE issues published per year becomes necessary, what would be the lowest number of issues you would find acceptable?
- * What new features or topics could be included in the JITE to significantly widen the scope of readership/ membership or attract more members within the field?
- The name of the Journal (Journal of Industrial Teacher Education) has fallen into question in recent years. Would you support a name change for the Journal?
- * As the costs of producing and mailing the JITE continue to rise, the following actions have been suggested as ways of addressing these challenges. Please rank order the following options in order of your preference.
- Seek contributions from business, indus-try, and/or foundations.
- Seek contributions from universities and colleges.
- Require page costs from authors.
- Include advertisements in the JITE.
- Cut back on other NAITTE activities to allot more income to the JITE.
- This is the first year for NAITTE's Industrial Teacher Education (CTTE/ITE) Directory to be distributed in electronic format. Is this format working for you?
- To save production and mailing costs, the NAITTE News & Views Newsletter has been produced in electronic form for several years. Is this format working for you?
- * How many times a year should the NAITTE News & Views be published?
- * What new features or topics could be included in the NAITTE News and Views to significantly widen the scope of readership/membership or attract more members within the field?
- * Rank order the following NAITTE products in order of their benefit to the membership.
- History of NAITTE
- JITE Authors' Guide
- Journal of Industrial Teacher Education
- JITE 25-Year Index
- News & Views Newsletter
- Industrial Teacher Education (CTTE/ITE) Directory
- NAITTE has not developed any monographs for several years. Is this something you would like to see revived?
NAITTE Conference and Program
- * Rank order the importance of the following events provided by the NAITTE program during the annual ACTE convention.
- NAITTE Educational Sessions
- NAITTE General Opening Session
- NAITTE Research Symposium
- NAITTE Breakfast and Business Meeting
- * Should NAITTE charge a conference fee while it is affiliated with ACTE?
- * What new activities or events should NAITTE consider for future conventions?
- There has been some talk among various teacher education fields within ACTE to establish their own division within ACTE. Would you support such a move?
- * If ACTE did not agree with the creation of a teacher education division, would you support NAITTE leaving ACTE and affiliating with a different organization?
- Would you support NAITTE becoming a stand alone entity with its own conference?
In the Summer 2003 issue of the JITE (v40/n4), a report was published on a study commissioned by NAITTE to make recommendations on its transformation. The report recommended a number of actions, one of which was to survey the NAITTE membership to establish a record of attitudes and opinions regarding the health, future, and transformation of NAITTE. That recommendation is what prompted the present survey. The following questions are based on the other recommendations of the report.
- The report recommended that NAITTE provide mechanisms for extending the conversation on the transformation to the entire membership (e.g., journal issue, e-list serve, web site). Of the three suggested examples, which one would you likely find the most beneficial?
- Another recommendation was to appoint a committee to explore and outline the benefits and problems of consolidating with the American Vocational Education Research Association (AVERA) and the Council on Technology Teacher Education (CTTE). Would you support a consolidation or merger with these organizations?
- The report also recommended that the Executive Committee appoint a committee to explore and outline the possibilities of establishing an international network of researchers in design, technology, and work education. Suggested starting points were UNESCO's International Project on Technical and Vocational Education (UNEVOC) and the World Council of Associations for Technology Education (WOCATE) communities. A conceptual title for such a network was suggested as the Design, Technology, and Work Education Research Network (DTWER-Net). Would you support the consolidation or merger required for such a network alliance?
Sampling and Data Collection
Unlike the 1993 survey, which employed a traditional printed and mailed (U. S. Postal Service) questionnaire, the 2004 survey was conducted over the Internet. Whereas the 1993 survey randomly sampled 149 of the NAITTE 1992 membership, the 2004 survey was made available to the full NAITTE 2004 membership by way of the membership listserv maintained at the University of British Columbia. The 2004 survey website was hosted by the University of Idaho.
The 2004 survey was first announced to the membership in the editor's section of the JITE in the late summer of 2003. An email announcing the opening of the survey was sent to the membership in early April 2004 through the listserv, four weeks before the survey website was to open. A second announcement was sent in late April 2004, two weeks prior to the release of the online questionnaire. A third announcement accompanied the release of the survey in mid-May 2004. The survey was available online for a period of three weeks from mid-May through early June 2004. A reminder encouraging non-respondents to participate was sent around the midpoint of the release period. No individual follow-up contacts were made given that no passwords were used to access the questionnaire; thus, there were no means by which to track individual respondents.
Due to a low response rate on the spring 2004 survey, a fall 2004 release was conducted during late September and early October for a period of two weeks. An announcement of the fall release was sent in mid-September with a reminder at the midpoint of the release period. As before, no individual follow-up contacts were made. See Table 2 for a comparison of response rates between the 1993 survey and the two 2004 surveys.
Data from the 2004 online survey was captured in a Microsoft Access database and exported to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Open-ended responses were captured and exported in text format.
There were two types of closed-ended questions on the questionnaire. For those questions on which respondents chose between alternatives (e.g., yes/no; excellent/good/average…), frequencies of responses were tabulated and then converted to percentages. For the questions on which respondents were asked to rank order their preferences, each preference was assigned a numerical value. Rank sums and averages were calculated. Final results for each question are reported in the tables and narratives in the Results and Comparison section of this article.
There were a number of open-ended, follow-up questions used throughout the survey. For each question the author examined and tabulated all comments. The comments were grouped in categories according to content similarity. Representative statements were drawn from each comment category and reported in the tables and narratives of this article.
Results and Comparisons
This section provides a reporting and comparison of the two surveys as based on their shared questions and themes. For occasions where a direct comparison cannot be made due to differences between the two surveys, the differences are noted and both survey results are discussed. The narrative is organized around the major divisions of the 2004 survey.
NAITTE Background and Participation
NAITTE's membership has varied considerably over the years. From a high of 702 in 1973, the trend has been generally downward. At the time of the 1992 study (reported in 1993) NAITTE listed a total membership of 426. By the time of 2004 study's September release the membership had declined to 182. Table 3 shows the number of years of membership in the organization of NAITTE members and reveals that much of the decline has taken place in years of membership ranging between
|1 – 3||7.1%||10.0%||+2.9|
|4 – 6||10.7%||7.5%||-3.2|
|7 – 9||9.8%||7.5%||-2.3|
|10 – 12||13.4%||10.0%||-3.4|
|13 – 15||13.4%||22.5%||+9.1|
|16 - 18||7.1%||10.0%||+2.9|
|19 – 21||6.3%||10.0%||+3.7|
|22 – 24||8.9%||2.5%||-6.4|
|25 - 27||6.3%||10.0%||+3.7|
|28 - 30||6.3%||5.0%||-1.3|
|31 or more||10.7%||5.0%||-5.7|
4 to 12 years, 22 to 24 years, and again for years of membership over 28 years. The largest gain in membership appeared in the ranges that included 13 to 21 years of membership.
In the 2004 study, the membership was asked to identify their present membership classification. Nearly 85% indicated U.S. membership, 3.8% indicated student membership, 3.8% indicated international membership, and 7.5% indicated institutional membership.
Unlike the 1993 study, the 2004 survey sought to determine the composition of the membership in terms of jobs held by the members. Table 4 indicates that the majority of the NAITTE members are, as would be expected, employed as teacher educators (60.4%). An open-ended question for this item revealed that a number of members were retired, were in secondary or post-secondary education teaching, or were consulting or teaching in the field of Human Resource Development (HRD).
|Secondary School Administrator||*|
When ask to indicate to which of NAITTE's four divisions the member belonged or was most closely aligned, the differences between the 1993 and 2004 studies were minor. The largest percentages of membership still remained between Technology Education and Trade and Industrial Education (see Table 5). The only declining area was in Industrial & Military Training (-3.9%).
|Trade & Industrial Education||38.5%||39.6%||+1.1|
|Industrial & Military Training||7.7%||3.8%||-3.9|
Aware of the overall declining membership, the executive committee in the 2004 study sought to determine how the membership was participating in NAITTE activities. Table 6 reports the findings on seven different kinds of activities listed in the survey. Of those responding to the survey, 52% indicated that they participated as general members only; that is, they did not participate in any NAITTE sponsored activities at the annual conference. The highest percentage (54.7%) reported that they had attended NAITTE educational sessions, while only 26.4% indicated that they had submitted a proposal to present in an educational session, and only 28.3% indicated that they had presented in a NAITTE educational session.
Because of concerns with NAITTE's overall rising costs of doing business, the 2004 survey sought to determine whether an increase in membership fees would be acceptable to the membership. Nearly 72% of the membership reported that a fee increase would be acceptable. A $10.00 to $20.00 increase was agreeable to 62% of those responding. However, 28.3% indicated that they would not be willing to support any fee increases. The survey also asked about adding a new special rate for retirees; 45.3% indicated they would support adding a retiree rate. The suggested retiree rates ranged from the current full membership ($50.00) down to $10.00, with $32.00 being the average retiree suggested annual rate.
|Attended NAITTE Educational Sessions at ACTE convention.||54.7|
|General membership only.||52.8|
|Attended NAITTE Breakfast and Business Meeting at ACTE convention.||47.2|
|Attended NAITTE Research Symposium at ACTE convention.||39.6|
|Attended NAITTE General Opening Sessions at ACTE convention.||37.7|
|Presented a NAITTE Educational Session.||28.3|
|Submitted Proposal to Present in a NAITTE Educational Session.||26.4|
Respondents to the 1993 survey indicated that their current NAITTE dues should remain unchanged at $30.00 for regular members, $40.00 for foreign members, and $15.00 for students. It was noted that "the majority of NAITTE members who made comments suggested that NAITTE maintain a catastrophic contingency fund of one year's expenses" (p. 24). There was no mention of a contingency fund on the 2004 survey.
NAITTE Name, Mission and Structure
Both the 1993 and 2004 studies included questions about NAITTE's name and mission. While the majority of respondents in both studies indicated that the name was still appropriate to reflect NAITTE's mission in the twenty-first century, there was a noticeable decline in support on the 2004 study (see Table 7). For those responding No on this item, a follow-up question asked for suggestions. The following list summarizes the names provided:
- National Association of Career and Technical Teacher Educators
- National Association of Industrial Technology Teacher Educators
- National Association of Technological and Technical Teacher Educators
- National Association for Professional Education
- Association of Professional Educators
- Association of Technical and Technology Teacher Educators
- International Association of Technical Teacher Educators
- International Association of Technology and Technical Teacher Educators
- National Association of Technology Teacher Educators
- National Association of Workforce Educators
- National Association of Instructional Technical Teacher Educators
Of those provided, the most frequently suggested name was National Association of Career and Technical Teacher Educators. The greatest concern regarding the present name centered on the
word industrial. Many respondents suggested that the word dated the organization and that it should be dropped from the name.
When asked about NAITTE's current mission statement, the findings of both studies suggested that it was not adequate for the twenty-first century. Table 8 reveals a sizeable drop in support from 1993 to 2004 (-20.1%). The mission statement of the current NAITTE Constitution reads as follows:
The concerns voiced in response to the follow-up questions for this and related items (on the 2004 study) again centered on the industrial bent of the name and mission. In like manner, training appears to have declined in popularity (see Table 9) given its 20.8% drop between the 1993 and 2004 studies. There were suggestions that NAITTE should focus on teacher education, as the name implies; that training was serving only to dilute the mission now that there were other organizations more suited for human resource development. One respondent suggested
Another respondent commented
The 2004 survey also inquired about NAITTE's organizational structure in relation to the recent closure of the Technical Division within the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). When asked if NAITTE should retain its technical division, 56.6% of the respondents indicated Yes. The 35.8 % of respondents who indicated No were asked in a follow-up question what to do with the technical division. One of these respondents suggested that it be combined "…with T&I or with Industrial Training. If combined with T&I call the division Trade and Technical. If combined with Industrial Training call it Adult Workforce Development." Others, while not making specific suggestions, commented
- Members of NAITTE should not have to identify with one ACTE division designation. One of the strengths of NAITTE is the mixing of people from all industrial and technical fields.
- Maybe we don't need divisions at all, but should strive to serve all areas.
- I don't think the divisions are helpful. Seems like an anachronism that came from AVA.
- Not sure we need one. "Technical" has now permeated all levels and fields.
- Trade and Industrial Education, and Technical Education seem like a duplication to me.
- Should also encompass adult workforce education.
- Not sure on this one. Perhaps as workforce education?
Later, in the 2004 survey, the membership was asked specifically if NAITTE should retain its overall divisional structure. Thirty-four percent responded Yes; 66.0% responded No. Follow-up comments included
- Really no need for any divisions.....I could not remember what division I was in and I have been a member for more than a few years.
- Should have officers by function that cut across all areas; VP's no longer function adequately as in the past to represent the different divisions.
- Unless and until a structure can be determined that leads to effective division of labor, then it's not a good idea to further slice this little pie into component parts. Plus, it seems to have been hard for NAITTE to field officers from each division.
NAITTE's five standing committees were investigated by both the 1993 and 2004 studies. When asked about the performance of the specific committees, the trend across all five committees was a very noticeable decline in overall satisfaction (see Table 10). A contributing factor in this decline may be that the 1993 study did not provide for a respondent to indicate an unfamiliarity with a particular committee's work. Notwithstanding, the 2004 percentage of respondents indicating that they were not familiar enough to rate committee performance ranged from a high of 56.5% for the auditing committee to a low of 26.4% for the research committee.
|Not familiar enough to rate.||*||56.5|
|Not familiar enough to rate.||*||30.2|
|Not familiar enough to rate.||*||28.3|
|Not familiar enough to rate.||*||32.1|
|Not familiar enough to rate.||*||26.4|
Both surveys sought to rank a selection of ways in which NAITTE might increase its membership (see Table 11). The 2004 survey included two extra items and therefore makes a direct comparison between the two surveys somewhat imperfect. Nonetheless, both studies ranked face-to-face contacts as the most strongly recommended means; establishing a membership recruitment committee was an agreeable second.
NAITTE Publications and Products
According to the 2004 survey, the Journal of Industrial Teacher Education (JITE) is clearly the most valued product that NAITTE provides to its membership (see Table 12). A direct comparison with the 1993 survey cannot be made because the two surveys went about measuring the importance differently. Nonetheless, the 1993 survey reported that the JITE was rated "very important" by 65.8% of the membership, 26.3% rated it "important." It would seem safe to say that the well-being of the JITE (often referred to as the Journal) is essential to NAITTE's future.
To insure the future of the JITE, the 2004 Executive Committee sought information about how the Journal might be kept financially solvent while maintaining quality. Given the declining membership and the drop in the number of manuscripts being submitted for publication, the committee asked about different formats and publication frequency. Table 13 indicates that the membership would prefer maintaining four issues per year, which was unchanged from the 1993 study. The 1993 study found that 57.1% of the membership preferred four issues per
|Establish membership recruitment committee.||2||2|
|Establish institutional directors.||3||6|
|Affiliate with a different organization.||*||3|
|Offer additional or different services.||*||4|
|Product||Rank of Importance|
|Journal of Industrial Teacher Education (JITE)||1|
|Industrial Teacher Education Directory (ITE Directory)||2|
|JITE Author's Guide||3|
|News & Views Newsletter||4|
|JITE 25-Year Index||5|
|History of NAITTE||6|
year while 23.8% indicated that three issues per year would be acceptable. At that time there was no mention of an electronic format. The 2004 survey seemed to suggest that the paperback format was still clearly preferred but that it could be mixed with an electronic format if a complete printed volume was provided each year. Reducing the number of issues per year was not a popular option in either study. The 2004 survey did reveal that if a reduction in the number of issues became necessary to maintain the quality, that 50.9% of those surveyed would support a reduction as low as two issues per year; 41.5% indicated that three issues per year would be acceptable.
When asked about the name of the Journal, 66% indicated they would support a name change. (There were no name-related questions on the 1993 survey.) As with the name of the organization, there was concern for industrial being in the title. Several alternative names were provided by the respondents, for instance
- Journal of Technical Teacher Education
- Journal of Technological Teacher Education
- Journal of Career and Technical Teacher Education
- International Journal of Technology and Technical Teacher Education
- Journal of Workforce Teacher Education
- Journal of Career and Technical Educators
- Journal for Professional Education Preparation.
Regarding the name, one respondent commented
|Option||Rank of Preference|
|Continue publishing 4 issues of the JITE per year but change to an electronic format with 1 complete volume printed per year.||1|
|Continue publishing 4 issues of the JITE per year in paperback form.||2|
|Reduce the number of issues of the JITE per year and retain the paperback form.||3|
|Reduce the number of issues of the JITE per year and change to an electronic format with 1 complete volume printed per year.||4|
|Continue publishing 4 issues of the JITE per year but change to a fully electronic format.||5|
|Reduce the number of issues of the JITE per year and change to a fully electronic format.||6|
Another open-ended question asked for recommendations for new features or topics for the JITE that might widen the scope of the readership and help attract new members. Suggestions included a move to more theme-based issues, a graduate student research section, a "best practices" section, non-refereed articles of special interest, a public policy section, more practitioner articles, articles on appropriate technology and sustainability. One respondent posed this discerning comment:
When asked about ways to help the JITE cover the rising costs of publication, interestingly, both the 1993 and 2004 membership ranked "seeking contributions from business, industry, and/or foundations" as their first choice. In fact, both surveys were in full agreement on all five of the measured criteria (see Table 14). When the 2004 survey asked for other suggestions, the responses included the following:
- Write articles geared toward instruction to encourage teacher subscriptions and membership.
- Seek endowments from retiring members and other sources.
- Better to go electronic than to add advertisements, page costs, or seek funding from universities.
- The JITE and support for the field are primary reasons why I continue my membership. Without a solid journal, I would leave NAITTE.
- Solicit journal to junior/community colleges that are now getting involved in teacher education.
The 1993 report also included suggestions for allowing advertisements into the Journal as well as raising membership dues to cover the rising costs and limiting costs to fit the current budget.
|Activity||1993 / 2004|
|Seek contributions from business, industry, and/or foundations.||1|
|Include advertisements in the JITE.||2|
|Seek contributions from universities and colleges.||3|
|Cut back on other NAITTE activities to allot more income to the JITE.||4|
|Require page costs from authors.||5|
As indicated in Table 12, the 2004 membership ranked the ITE Directory as the second most importance product. Having just gone to an electronic format at the time of the 2004 survey, 60.4% of the membership indicated that the new format was working for them. The 35.8% that responded No were asked to suggest areas for improvement. The prominent problem seemed to center on distribution; many of the members reported not receiving the Directory. A number of respondents complained that the Directory was not being passed along by the chairpersons who initially receive the electronic file. Others reported not being aware of the new format. Still others voiced a preference for the paper copy, even if they had to pay for it. Unlike the 1993 survey, no one in 2004 suggested reducing the Directory to a biennial issue. Both surveys strongly supported the continuation of both the Directory and the Journal.
The News & Views Newsletter was the next item on the 2004 survey. Both surveys supported the publication of two issues per year (see Table 15). Nearly 74% of the 2004 respondents reported that the current electronic format was working for them. Of those responding No, again the problem centered on distribution. Many reported not receiving the electronic version and even thought the Newsletter had been discontinued. One member suggested that "given the lack of content, perhaps it is no longer needed. Or, only once per year as a report of the national conference." Another offered the following admonishment:
When asked for ideas on how to improve the Newsletter, there were striking similarities between the two surveys. Both
|Issues Per Year||1993||2004||Change|
|Updated continuously in the electronic format.||*||18.9%|
|News & Views could be eliminated even though it represents very low costs to NAITTE.||*||9.4%|
included suggestions to publish just prior to the national convention. Both included, as well, suggestions to include practitioner articles (e.g., articulation, dual enrollment, workforce development, mentoring, curriculum development, inventory procedures/tracking, classroom management, etc.). Featured articles on (a) best practices or best programs, (b) what special projects are taking place around the country, (c) who has funding to do what kinds of activities, (d) what kinds of collaborations are taking place, (e) how are people coping with threats to Perkins funding, (f) what other political/legislative trends are in evidence, and (g) short abstracts of papers presented at ACTE, were some of the suggested additions. Using the Newsletter only as an annual report after the ACTE Convention was also suggested.
Another NAITTE product that received attention on both surveys was the publication of monographs. The 1993 survey asked participants to rate the importance of four NAITTE publications; namely, monographs, History of NAITTE, Author's Guide, and the JITE 25-Year Index. The 2004 survey included the Journal, the Directory, and the Newsletter in addition to the four previous products (see Table 12). A direct comparison cannot be made between the two surveys due to the differing item formats used to measure the importance. Here, the 1993 survey used a Likert-scaled item whereas the 2004 survey utilized a simple Yes/No response for monographs alone. Of the four products on the 1993 survey, monographs were rated as Important or Very Important by 65.2% of those responding (Very Important being the highest rating). On the 2004 survey the membership was not as supportive; 56.6% responded No to a question about whether or not monographs should be revived as a NAITTE product. Accompanying the 39.6% that responded Yes, a variety of potential new topics were provided. Most of the suggestions centered on the future of the industrial-technical teacher education profession.
NAITTE Conference and Program
The next major division of the 2004 survey dealt with NAITTE conference and program issues. Again, the two surveys used differing item formats to measure the issues. Table 16, from the 2004 survey, rank orders four major functions that NAITTE has traditionally sponsored during the ACTE Convention. The 1993 survey, using a Likert-scale, also included the JITE Workshop and meetings of the Executive Committee. Even though the two surveys differed on their measurement construct (1993, quality; 2004, importance), when the workshop and committee meetings are removed from of the 1993 survey, the Research Symposium and educational sessions cluster as the two top-rated functions on both surveys. The general opening session and the traditional NAITTE breakfast and business meeting formed the lower cluster.
|Event||Rank of Importance|
|NAITTE Research Symposium||1|
|NAITTE Educational Sessions||2|
|NAITTE General Opening Session||3|
|NAITTE Breakfast and Business Meeting||4|
Both surveys sought direction on whether or not NAITTE should charge a conference fee to help offset the costs associated with the annual program. The 1993 survey produced somewhat mixed results with 52% responding Yes and 48% responding No; the 2004 survey was much clearer: 28.3% Yes, 66% No. For those responding Yes on both surveys, the most common acceptable range for a conference fee was $20.00 to $30.00.
Both surveys gathered recommendations for new activities or events for future conventions. Miller (1993) reported that "Members felt an evening meal or banquet – rather than breakfast and an annual conference with industrial employers – was a possible event for future conferences. In addition NAITTE members suggested . . . invitational forums – small groups by invitation only to explore "cutting edge" topics; one or more programs each year on provocative issues; session to air issues/challenges facing the profession; and discussion groups on bitnet for year-long interest and involvement" (p. 22). Respondents on the 2004 survey echoed many of the same recommendations as well as networking events and social activities that would include guests and spouses; a futuring "think tank;" and, a graduate student forum. Several respondents commented that they had not attended the annual conference in recent years due, in part, to a lack of financial support from their institutions and a general dissatisfaction with the overall ACTE Convention.
As suggested by the above comment about a general dissatisfaction with the overall ACTE Convention, there was evidence in the 1993 findings that a discontent was present even then. While 88% of the 1993 respondents preferred to continue meeting during the American Vocational Association (AVA, now ACTE) Convention, Miller (1996) reported that: "Some NAITTE members suggested that the NAITTE conference be held before or after AVA, whereas others suggested that NAITTE meet on an [sic] rotating basis with the National Association of Industrial Technology, the International Technology Education Association, the American Society of Training and Development, and the American Vocational Association" (p. 21).
On a similar theme, the 2004 survey sought to determine if there was support among the membership for a new division within ACTE for teacher education. A majority of respondents (58.5%) indicated that they would support such a new division. In a follow-up question asking in the event that ACTE did not agree with the creation of a teacher education division, would they support NAITTE leaving ACTE and affiliating with a different organization, 54.7% responded Yes. (It should be noted that later in 2004, the new Academy for Career and Technical Teacher Education was founded during the annual ACTE Convention.) When asked for suggestions on potential affiliate organizations, the International Technology Education Association was the most frequent suggestion. The American Vocational Education Research Association was second with the American Educational Research Association a distant third. (Note: AVERA has since changed its name to the Association for Career and Technical Education Research (ACTER)). There was some mention of the Academy of Human Resource Development and the American Society for Training and Development. When the 2004 survey asked whether or not the membership would support NAITTE becoming a stand alone entity with its own conference, a two-thirds majority (62.3%) responded No. On the follow-up question there was clear concern that NAITTE was now too small to sustain its own conference and that there were already too many conferences to attend.
At this point the two surveys diverge and are no longer comparable on the simple basis of their shared questions. Both surveys, however, do share a common theme in their later sections, namely, the future of NAITTE. Here, as on certain previous questions, the two surveys differ on how they approached an issue. The 1993 survey sought to identify a set of five-year goals for the organization; the 2004 survey sought guidance on how to proceed given the publication of the Catalyst for Excellence Report in 2003 (Petrina, et al., 2003).
The goals reported in the 1993 report (Miller, 1993) were ". . . increase professional, student, and foreign membership. [by] . . . recruiting industrial trainers and military personnel, recruiting administrators of industrial and technical teacher education programs, recruiting community college vocational technical instructors, and offering institutional memberships" (p. 24). The report continues with: ". . . acquire financial support from business and industry. [by]. . . obtaining corporate sponsorship, establishing financial stability, and maintaining quality of publications and services" (p. 24). The final category of suggested goals included: ". . . identify a clear mission/purpose. [by]. . . re-examining the current NAITTE mission and changing it as appropriate, considering a new name to reflect a mission for the future, establishing a 5-year plan with specific goals, and updating and distributing the NAITTE Administrative Handbook" (p. 24).
As mentioned above, the 2004 study sought guidance on the Petrina study, which was commissioned by NAITTE to make recommendations on its transformation. The report recommended a number of actions, one of which was to survey the NAITTE membership to establish a record of attitudes and opinions regarding the health, future, and transformation of NAITTE. That recommendation is what prompted the 2004 survey. Another recommendation was that NAITTE provide mechanisms for extending the conversation on the transformation to the entire membership (viz., journal issue, e-list serve, web site). For the three suggestions, the membership was asked to select the one they believed would be the most beneficial (see Table 17). A membership-wide, e-list serve was the first choice (39.6%) with a dedicated Journal issue as second (30.2%). A follow-up question was provided for those responding none of the above. Responses reflected two main themes: to use all three options and that the exchange of ideas must involve as many of the members as possible.
|A membership-wide e-list serve.||39.6|
|A dedicated Journal issue.||30.2|
|A members-only web site.||22.6|
|None of the above.||5.7|
The Petina report also recommended the appointment of a committee to explore and outline the benefits and problems of consolidating with the American Vocational Education Research Association and the Council on Technology Teacher Education (CTTE). When asked if they would support a consolidation or merger with these organizations, 86.8% responded Yes, with 11.3% responding No. On the follow-up question for those responding No, many cautioned about moving too quickly into a merger. Still, nearly an equal number felt that a merger would eventually be necessary. Several voiced concerns about how neither AVERA nor CTTE was a good fit with the broader interests and mission of NAITTE.
The final question on the 2004 survey stated that the Petrina report had recommended that the executive committee appoint a committee to explore and outline the possibilities of establishing an international network of researchers in design, technology, and work education. The suggested starting points were UNESCO's International Project on Technical and Vocational Education (UNEVOC) and the World Council of Associations for Technology Education (WOCATE) communities. A conceptual title for such a network was suggested as the Design, Technology, and Work Education Research Network (DTWER-Net). The 2004 survey then asked whether or not the membership would support the consolidation or merger required for such a network alliance. As with the previous question about mergers, a clear majority responded Yes (79.2%), while 20.8% responded No. On the follow-up question for those responding No, as before, there were many that were uncomfortable with the idea of a consolidation or merger. The idea of an international network was acceptable to most but not in conjunction with a consolidation or merger. One respondent provided the following comment, one which seems to reveal an underlying concern that resonated throughout the 2004 survey responses:
With this comment it should be noted that NAITTE's membership is nearly balanced between the Technology Education Division and the Trade and Industrial Division (see Table 5); a point that should not be lost, given the inclusive tradition that NAITTE has maintained over its 69 years.
Given the comparative intent of this report this section will be conducted in the same order as the previous Results and Comparisons section. The individual divisions of the 2004 survey, as before, will provide the organization for the narrative.
Background and Participation
It is apparent that NAITTE has been experiencing a declining membership for many years. There are numerous reasons that can account for this decline but the reasons most referenced by the respondents of the two studies were the closing of vocational-technical teacher education programs at the university level and the transition of programs toward industrial technology and human resource development. While NAITTE has no direct control over these events, it does bring into question its mission. With part of NAITTE's mission stating that it provides an "advocacy for industrial and technical teacher education and trainer training" (NAITTE Administrative Handbook, 1998), its performance in this area would seem to warrant investigation.
Another dimension of the membership decline that seemed to surface was a growing dissatisfaction with the ACTE Convention. By association, this may help to explain the low participation of NAITTE members in its conference programming. With the recent creation of the Academy of Career and Technical Teacher Educators, part of this dissatisfaction may subside. Moreover, given NAITTE's long-standing research interests, the emerging pre-convention program of the Association for Career and Technical Education Research (ACTER) may serve to attract members back to the convention and, indirectly, NAITTE. For this potential benefit to materialize, it would seem obvious that NAITTE would have to cultivate its relationship with these other organizations.
In comparing the two studies, another noticeable characteristic is that NAITTE is clearly a U.S. association. As evidenced in both studies, there has been an interest among the membership for NAITTE to become more international. Just why this has not happened is unclear, but there is nevertheless support for the effort.
Perhaps indicative of the overall decline in career and technical teacher education programs is the absence of student members responding on the 2004 survey. The 1993 study only differentiated between members and officers, thus there was no student data reported. This is a disturbing trend given that students have historically been a significant part of NAITTE's recruitment strategy. With teacher educator's making up the clear majority of the overall membership, dependence on this job classification for sustainability seems in jeopardy if being a teacher education student is the primary career pathway into the field.
As for the overall membership, the Technology Education and Trade and Industrial Education divisions clearly represent the majority. With the decline in membership of the Military and Industrial Training division, and with there being no representation of the group on the 2004 survey, there is evidence that NAITTE has not been effective at attracting and retaining trainer educators. As noted in the 1993 report, NAITTE is about the only organization that seeks to bring a full array of educators and trainers together. Here again, this does not reflect well on NAITTE performing its mission.
Name, Mission and Structure
There has been a noticeable decline in support for the name since the 1993 study. The name, mission, and journal all received criticism centered on the word, industrial. Part of the criticism stems from the perception that the word is too limiting and stigmatizing for today's membership. If the organization is to change its image and appeal to a broader clientele, many members felt a name change is in order. An interesting observation is that the suggested names provided on the 2004 survey do not seem to broaden the appeal of the organization as some suggest. An international motif emerged—here and elsewhere in the findings—although remaining National seemed to dominate the suggested new names.
Like the name, the mission statement has clearly experienced declining support since the 1993 study. It appears that both industrial and training have faded in popularity. Given the comments received on open-ended questions and the discontent with the words, together they seem to reveal an underlying uncertainty and reflection on the part of the membership concerning the future role and composition of NAITTE. As mentioned earlier, some of the most positive comments focused on NAITTE's historical function of allowing for multiple voices, a variety of career and technical fields intermixing. There seems a genuine concern that this plurality may be lost.
Publications and Products
Without question, the Journal is the most important product or service that NAITTE provides its membership. This author would venture to say that, "So goes the Journal, so goes NAITTE." There was undeniable evidence in both survey findings that the health of the Journal is vital to NAITTE's future. Even with the concern over the name, the Journal has clearly retained its support.
Confirmation of this support may be seen in the willingness of the membership to accept a reduced number of issues per year. Moving to an electronic format, while plainly not preferred, was also acceptable if that would help maintain the quality and availability of the Journal. The membership seemed supportive of an electronic version especially if an annual printed volume was published as well. A tolerance for advertisements within the Journal may be seen as another indicator of the membership's concern for the Journal.
The ITE Directory is second only to the Journal in popularity and importance. It is apparently suffering from communications and distribution problems with its new electronic format. The News & Views Newsletter is suffering from the same kinds of problems. It should be obvious that these communications and distribution issues need to be resolved, especially if it is decided to move the Journal to an electronic format as well. Such problems would spell disaster to the organization if the Journal were to experience similar difficulties.
Conference and Program
The research symposium and educational sessions are the two most popular events at the conference. On both surveys it is interesting to note that the NAITTE breakfast and business meeting no longer holds the prominence it once enjoyed. Given the perennial challenge of paying for the breakfast meeting, there appears to be support for a change in the NAITTE Conference program. Perhaps, as the Miller (1993) study suggested, an evening banquet or reception would be in order. Such a change would also be in agreement with the findings of the 2004 survey wherein it was expressed that an event that would include guests and spouses would be welcomed.
Dissatisfaction with the ACTE Convention was present in both surveys. The creation of the ACTTE is evidence that this has been brooding for some time. NAITTE has been involved with the creation of this new organization since it was first conceptualized. What this new affiliation will bring is yet to be seen, but it is promising.
Even though the two studies used different approaches for the information they sought, in the end, both were focused on NAITTE's future. The goals of the Miller report focused on increasing membership, obtaining outside financial support, identifying a clear mission/purpose. The 2004 study sought much the same information plus guidance on the suggestions put forward by the Patrina report: a membership survey, extending the conversation to the membership, a dedicated Journal issue, and a committee to study consolidation or merger. As noted earlier, the 2004 survey was a response to the Petrina report's recommendation. As for a means by which to extend the conversation to the membership, NAITTE has had a membership-wide listserv for some time. To comply with the Petrina report, access to the listserv needs to be opened up to the full membership. Or, using something like the bitnet example from the 1993 survey, today an Internet chat room or discussion board could serve this purpose. One clear message from the 2004 survey was to involve the full membership in the transformation dialogue.
The prospect of consolidation or merger was supported by the majority of the membership, but only if it were absolutely necessary. While there has been some discussion with other organizations about the prospects of consolidation or merger, a committee for that purpose, as recommended in the Petrina report, had not been formed by the time of the 2004 study. Something on the order of the proposed DTWER-Net has taken place in the form of the new ACTTE. Nonetheless, the ACTTE does not approach the scale or character of the network that the Petrina report seemed to envision. Perhaps the sense of urgency has been diminished by the formation of the ACTTE.
As the two surveys were compared, the message that emerged from the data was disturbing. It is troubling to think that the challenges that have confronted NAITTE for the greater part of the past two decades are the same challenges that face it today. Granted, some of these challenges are perennial and out of NAITTE's control, but there are many that fall well within its purview. It should go without saying that the world has experienced considerable change during the 69 years of NAITTE's existence. NAITTE, as an organization, has certainly changed; for instance, in 1989 the Industrial and Military Training Division was added in response to the membership's growing involvement in the field of Human Resource Development. Prior to that, in 1985, the Mission statement replaced the Aims and Purpose section in the NAITTE Constitution. Still earlier, in 1967, the name was changed to be more inclusive of technical education (Evans, 1988). The point is, NAITTE has changed! The question is, can it change again?
Evans, R. N. (1988). The history of NAITTE. Homewood, IL: National Association of Industrial and Technical Teacher Educators.
Miller, P. W. (1993). Needs assessment of the National Association of Industrial and Technical Teacher Educators. Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, 30(3), 8-25.
National Association of Industrial-Technical Teacher Educators. (1998). Administrative handbook. Retrieved January 30, 2006, from http://www.coe.uga.edu/naitte/naitte_home.htm
Petrina, S., Brauchle, P., Gregson, J., Herschbach, D., Hoepfl, M., Johnson, S., et al. (2003). A catalyst for excellence: A report on the transformation of the National Association of Industrial and Technical Teacher Educators. Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, 40(4), 6-23.
Gagel is Associate Professor in the Department of Adult, Career, and Technology Education at the University of Idaho-Boise. Gagel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.