Tag Archives: best practices

Embracing non-tenure track faculty: Changing campuses for the new faculty majority

Kezar, A. J.(Ed.). (2012). Embracing non-tenure track faculty: Changing campuses for the new faculty majority. New York: Routledge.

In this work edited by Adrianna Kezar the reader will find an invaluable collection of case studies ranging from small community colleges to masters colleges and universities.  The book begins by providing background and context by reviewing the literature that speaks to recommendations for policies and practices where non-tenure track, part-time faculty are concerned.  The first chapter lays the groundwork for the series of case-studies from eight very different academic communities.  The second chapter reviews the findings of a nation-wide study of over 400 faculty contracts and interviews with 45 faculty leaders at 30 institutions.  They highlight a three-phase model that includes mobilization, implementation, and institutionalization.   This framework can be used when considering each of the case studies.  The uniqueness in this volume is the ability to have at hand studies from such diverse organizations in one place.  The final two chapters help the reader synthesize all the opportunities and pitfalls discussed in the case-studies.  The reader can explore the case studies for detail, or read the last two chapters for an overview. The appendices are excellent examples of outstanding practices, policies, and guidelines that would be useful in discussions around the issues of adjunct faculty at most institutions.

Perceptions of community college adjunct faculty and division chairpersons

Diegel, B. L. (2013). Perceptions of community college adjunct faculty and division chairpersons: Support, mentoring, and professional development to sustain academic quality. Community College Journal of Research & Practice, 37(8), 596-607. doi:10.1080/10668926.2012.720863

This dissertation explores the differences in perceptions of community college chair persons and adjunct faculty with respect to the support, mentoring, and professional development of adjuncts. The researcher conducted her investigation at a mid-sized rural community college and chose participants in the Humanities, English, and Science departments. The college had a contingent of adjunct faculty that comprised thirty percent of the teaching staff. The role of divisional chairpersons in the support, or non-support, of adjunct faculty is viewed through an interpretvist lens which allows for looking at multiple realities emanating from a common context. The research looked at the experiences and perceptions of fifteen adjunct faculty and three chair persons through a set of semi-structured interviews and focus groups. The study attempts to answer three questions: What is the perception of division chair people of adjunct faculty members on campus; What is the perception of adjunct faculty regarding the role of division chair people in providing teaching support, mentoring, and professional development opportunities; and What, if anything, do division chair people do to support or hinder adjunct faculty on campus.  The social identity theory was used as a lens to understand how adjunct faculty perceived their roles at the college.  The researcher noted that “taking the time to understand this culture from the perspective of the adjunct faculty will allow division chairs to better serve their needs which, in turn, will benefit students and academic departments in a positive way so learning and quality can thrive.”  There were four roles identified for the chair persons – professional resource link, institutional authority or representative, and evaluator conducting ongoing assessment.  The research identified three major findings concerning adjunct faculty needs – teaching preparedness, feeling valued, and communication.  The limitations of the study were well-noted and there was no attempt to generalize the findings beyond the studied institution. The findings from the research may offer important insights to those that manage adjuncts and to institutional leaders where adjuncts are part of the community.

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.

Delphi Project-Dispelling_the_Myths

Kezar, A., & Maxey, D. Delphi Project-Dispelling_the_Myths – DelphiProject-Dispelling_the_Myths.pdf Retrieved from http://www.uscrossier.org/pullias/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/DelphiProject-Dispelling_the_Myths.pdf

Especially useful links such as, Resources and Tool Kits: Example Change Processes and Practices at  http://examplepractices.thechangingfaculty.org/ make this resource a practical guide for the adjunct manager.  The authors, Kezar and Maxey, go through a detailed list of examples of no-cost, low-cost and more costly options for supporting adjunct faculty.  After each one of the sections they provide additional resources to either support or help implement their recommendations.  For leaders this is a document that can be used as a road-map to creating a more uniformly supported faculty, increasing the chance of student success within the institution. For managers of adjuncts, these recommendations are backed up with research and examples that can be used when appealing to leadership for more resources to support adjuncts.   The Delphi Project website http://www.thechangingfaculty.org/ is a must for those managers seeking to learn about the changing nature of the academic workforce.

Building the roadmap to adjunct faculty success

Jacobson, K. N. (2013). Building the roadmap to adjunct faculty success. Techniques, 88(4), 10-11.

Jacobson outlines five milestones in a “comprehensive and successful adjunct faculty roadmap” that lays the foundation for a program that will allow the institution’s adjuncts to be part of the campus community and to be a part of the college’s mission of student success.  These five milestones, general in nature, can be used as the backbone of institutions wanting to develop a successful adjunct program that will attract quality candidates and retain quality instructors.  The milestones, as stated in this article are: a strong start, building a community, one-stop-shop resource center, dedicated adjunct faculty consultant, and a flexible and inclusive approach.  Jacobson gives a succinct description of each of these milestones and how they work together to create a roadmap to success.

Teachers as adult learners

Lawler, P. A. (2003). Teachers as adult learners: A new perspective. New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education, 2003(98), 15-22.

Outlining the Adult Learning Model for Faculty Development developed by Lawler and King, this article asserts that faculty (teachers of adults) are adult learners and, hence, their learning should be thought of in the same perspectives as other adult learners.  Using the six adult learning principles of: create a climate of respect; encourage active participation; build on experience; employ collaborative inquiry; learn for action; and empower the participants, Lawler shows how each can be applied to teachers of adults.

Adjunct faculty in community colleges

Wallin, D. L. (Ed.). (2005). Adjunct faculty in community colleges : An academic administrator’s guide to recruiting, supporting, and retaining great teachers. Bolton, MA: Anker.

In this edited volume, Wallin combines the knowledge of seventeen contributors from  community colleges that are making the needs and contributions of adjunct faculty a “front-burner issue” in their schools.  These schools can be looked to for models of support for adjunct faculty.  Topics run the gamut from the history and development of the adjunct’s role in community colleges through recruiting, hiring, training, and supporting of adjuncts in the community college realm.  Interestingly, many of the contributions ask the question of why adjunct faculty are used? Do they increase the quality of faculty and program offerings, or are they simply a method of financial expediency for the college? Many, in the community college realm see them offering expertise in specialty areas that many full-time faculty cannot.  Divided into three intuitive parts of Understanding Part-Time Faculty, Recruiting and Retaining Part-time Faculty, and Supporting Part-Time Faculty Through Technology, the book serves as a road-map for those looking to develop or enhance an adjunct program from recruitment to support.  It is unfortunate that an amazing resource mentioned in one of the contributions is no longer maintained (4faculty.org), but the article of how the Rio Saldo College maintains a quality program (from recruitment to evaluation) with 28 permanent residential faculty and 850 adjunct faculty provides a multitude of program ideas for those interested.  As more four-year institutions increase the number of adjuncts, a reading of this book would be essential for administrations with adjunct responsibilities.

What types of support do adjuncts need?

Kelly, R. (2014, May 6). What types of support do adjuncts need? Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/faculty-development/types-support-adjuncts-need/

This entry discussed the quantitative study done at Northern Oklahoma College comparing the perceptions of adjuncts and administrators concerning the importance of support for part-time faculty.  Kelly concisely reviews the relevant findings in the support areas of orientation (both campus and job duties, professional development, and access to support services.  Kelly summarizes the recommendation from the study’s author, Dr. Judy Colwell into three main areas; workshops or meetings must be convenient and relevant; listening is an important skill and seeking input is part of that; and keep the adjunct input in perspective.

Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty

Coburn-Collins, A. (2014). Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty. Paper presented at the Higher Learning Commission 2014 Annual Conference, http://cop.hlcommission.org/Learning-Environments/coburn-collins.html.

The five best practices outlined in this conference paper are practical steps that every institution can take to help develop a campus culture that accepts adjunct faculty as equal partners in student success. From a comprehensive orientation to recognition for quality work these practices this institution set up an Office of Adjunct Faculty Support with a budget of $250,000, roughly the cost of four tenure-track assistant professors.  This program supports 350 adjuncts.  The math alone suggests that the investment is well spent and the return on investment is measured in improved student success and a “sense of belonging” among the adjuncts.