Tag Archives: barriers

Examining an adjunct faculty professional development program model for a community college

Messina, L. S. (2011). Examining an adjunct faculty professional development program model for a community college.  
(Ph.D.). (AAI3461092). Retrieved from http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI3461092

This study looked at a one-year Adjunct Faculty Professional Development program in a two-year multi-campus community college in Massachusetts.  The study focuses on the development of curricula content for professional development and program characteristics of adult learning.  A fully developed background and description of the study followed by an extensive literature review.  The study was equally quantitative and qualitative.  The quantitative questions explored the differences between those adjunct faculty who participated in the professional development program and those who did not.  They also questioned the differences among adjunct faculty perceptions, based on the number of years of teaching experiences, of program characteristics that were perceived as being valuable .  The qualitative questions explored more deeply the responses from the quantitative portion of the study.  The study use 57 adjuncts who participated in the program and 101 who did not for the quantitative survey.  Twenty-eight focus groups accounted for the qualitative portion of the study.  Two surprising findings in this study were the major themes of a lack of mentoring and the need for better orientation.

Adjunct faculty in developmental education: Best practices, challenges, and recommendations

Datray, J. L., Saxon, D. P., & Martirosyan, N. M. (2014). Adjunct faculty in developmental education: Best practices, challenges, and recommendations. The Community College Enterprise, 20(1), 35-48.

Datray, Saxon and Martirosyan provide a summary of research from as early at 1998 through 2013 concerning the challenges in the use of adjuncts in Developmental Education programs, particularly in community colleges.  Newer studies contradict older studies indicating that exposure to part-time faculty during the first semester “yielded unacceptably low pass rates”.  Newer studies begin to question if the issue is with the part-time faculty themselves, or with the support that they receive from the institution.  One example given from a 2009 study indicated that students felt they received less support from part-time faculty.  However, an earlier 2004 study questioned whether that was a problem of the part-time faculty or a lack of support by the institution, as typically these faculty are not given offices or meeting rooms, nor paid for office hours.  Pulling information from a Bramhall and Byok 2009 study, the authors offered that providing support to complete a pedagogical certificate resulted in a 7% increase in retention rates for the participating faculty.  Datray, Saxon, and Martirosyan see adjunct faculty as valuable assets that need the solid support of institution and program leaders to meet their full potential.  They offer twelve recommendations for leaders of developmental education programs to use in developing and utilizing adjunct faculty as the valuable assets they are.  The authors do advocate for an appropriate balance of adjunct to full-time as well as selecting quality teachers in the hiring process.  Training and various types of institutional support and integration of adjunct faculty into the campus mainstream are discussed.  Retention of qualified adjunct faculty is discussed as a way of achieving student success outcomes equivalent to that of full-time faculty.

Mentoring and other professional support for faculty in institutions of higher learning

Osa, J., Oliver, A., & Walker, T. (2015). Mentoring and other professional support for faculty in institutions of higher learning: A study report. In A. A. Howley, & M. B. Trube (Eds.), Mentoring for the professions: Orienting toward the future (pp. 127-143)

This study report looked at 45 full-time faculty and the perceived impact of mentoring for these individuals.  Of note is the similarities in perception to those of adjunct faculty in other studies.  The research attempted to answer four questions: (1) What do faculty members think of mentoring? (2) What are the areas in which faculty members receive professional support? (3) What did mentors do to support and develop the all-around growth of mentees? (4) What are the hindrances to mentoring in an institution of higher learning?.  A large majority of respondents (64%) felt that mentoring was very beneficial. Mentoring support proved to be highest in areas of understanding the culture of the institution and resource awareness.  The methods of mentor strategies that topped the list included modeling professionalism and valuing the mentees knowledge and experience, as well as share of personal success and failures.  Some impediments to mentoring of full-time faculty mirror that of mentoring adjunct faculty, including: lack of time, lack of institutional support, and lack of incentives.  The writers conclude that mentoring is an “effective strategy for reducing the stress, pain, frustration, insecurity, and failure” that new members in higher education may experience.

Expectations, motivations, and barriers to professional development

Dailey-Hebert, A., Norris, V. R., Mandernach, B. J., & Donnelli-Sallee, E. (2014). Expectations, motivations, and barriers to professional development: Perspectives from adjunct instructors teaching online. The Journal of Faculty Development, 28(1), 67-82.

This study of 649 online adjuncts in a university system investigated the perceptions about the value, relevance, and utility of various types of faculty development programming. Using a Likert rating scale the authors targeted personal demographic questions such as age, ethinicity, and comfort with computers.  Faculty preferences for the for­mat of faculty development programming were examined and perceived value of professional development programming was assessed.  Findings included online adjuncts seek regular, but limited opportunities for professional development; attendance is often driven by format, topic, and timing.  Motivators were grouped into intrinsic and extrinsic, and not surprisingly, monetary compensation was second on the list.  Intrinsic motivators, such as personal growth accounted for four of the top six motivating factors.  The authors noted various limitations to the study that would be useful for those attempting to replicate it.