When it comes to teaching, most faculty lack either credible expertise, respected credentials, common standards, or a framework of meaningful review; thus they see pedagogical improvement as a morass in which gains would be invisible if achieved and in which they can only lose time, money, and energy through vaguely configured efforts that create no enduring value. So the department preserves the individual space of the faculty member to teach unobserved and unmolested.
But what of community colleges and others where faculty have no research responsibilities? While there is little or no pressure on faculty at these institutions to do research, the organizational structure is usually the same: Faculty are hired, promoted, and granted tenure through discipline- or skill-based departments. And the system of recognition and reward in the community college, like that in the university, is based on individual accomplishment as mediated by the department. So the autonomy survives without the research. Thus the privacy and individualism of teaching at most community colleges creates an environment in which autonomy itself becomes a reward, a form of control, an endowment.