While this blog was done as part of a course assignment, I will occasionally continue to add materials that I find relevant to this topic. Recently, in the Chronicle of Higher Education I came across the Adjunct Commuter Weekly. In this online publication (one edition of the printed version is available) you will find many personal stories of the adjunct (from the many different definitions of adjunct!)
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.
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.
Webb, A. S., Wong, T. J., & Hubball, H. T. (2013). Professional development for adjunct teaching faculty in a research-intensive university: Engagement in scholarly approaches to teaching and learning. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 25(2), 231-238.
The term field practitioner is used in this article by authors from University of British Columbia, Canada to describe its adjunct faculty. The tenure of the article is more supportive of adjuncts than many U.S. articles, for example it starts with “Research universities around the world are increasingly drawing upon leading practitioners in the professional fields as adjunct faculty to deliver high quality student learning experiences…” A refreshing change from so many articles that tend to denigrate the abilities or motivations of adjunct faculty. The authors discuss the results of pilot programs at the Faculties of Dentistry and Education that provided opportunities to investigate, and provide opportunities to meet, the needs of their adjunct faculty.
Colasanti, L. M. (1991). Adjunct faculty morale and faculty development. Burlington, VT: Burlington College, VT. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED415766.pdf
This 1991 FIPSE grant report details how the administration at a small (200 students), all-adjunct faculty, college investigated morale and development among the adjunct faculty and developed a program to improve both. Using a series of ten interdisciplinary seminars to bring together 32 faculty to discuss issues in teaching and learning across the curriculum. In addition, 53 faculty were given a questionnaire asking them to rate on both the importance and satisfaction they had with 41 different items. The research identified areas of faculty morale and development that could be improved. Just as importantly they identified where the gaps between faculty expectations and satisfaction were. The resultant changes in the institution’s support for their faculty and faculty development have proven beneficial.
Betts, K. (2009). Online human touch (OHT) training & support: A conceptual framework to increase faculty and adjunct faculty engagement, connectivity, and retention in online education, part 2. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 5(1), 29.
In describing how Drexel University’s Master of Science in Higher Education (MSHE) Program in the School of Education realized a student retention rate of 83% and a three-year faculty retention rate of 93% Betts outlines the conceptual framework for Online Human Touch (OHT). Initially developed to increase student engagement and satisfaction, the concept has been developed to engage, connect, and retain online full-time and part-time faculty. A brief review of the literature reveals that attrition rates are often as high as 70%-80% for online programs for students. Studies are lacking pertaining to the attrition rates of faculty and even fewer studies look at full-time vs. part-time or online vs on-campus programs. The article details, in quite detail, the components of OHT and how it was implemented at Drexel University. Components discussed include faculty engagement, community development, personalized communication, faculty development, data driven decision-making. The OHT premise is that beginning with the recruitment and hiring process and continuing throughout their teaching careers online faculty realize they are part of a larger team and experience the support needed through extensive online communities. Comparative data between online and on-campus programs do not exist because an on-campus program for MSHE does not exist.
Aker, C. M. (2010). The experience of adjunct and full-time faculty participation in a public university teacher education department (Ph.D.). Available from ProQuest Education Journals. (753498131).
This doctoral dissertation delves into the question of adjunct and full-time faculty in one specific university and one specific department, perceive their participation in the campus community. This qualitative study looked at the community of practice with the teacher education department using in-depth interviews with seven faculty members, 3 adjunct and 4 full-time. Through interpretive phenomenology, Aker determines that the adjunct faculty members did not perceive their participation in departmental activities as affecting their instruction, whereas, full-time faculty felt that it did influence their instruction. Concerns were raised over the apparent lack of adjunct input during discussions of current information about teacher preparation. The concern was not only over the lack of the adjuncts receiving the information, but since many of them are also practitioners, there was a sense of missed opportunity in not receiving their input. Other areas of investigation included what resources were used by both groups and how various experiences (both personal and work related) affected participation. Recommendations for action from this research include determining what the career goals are of both full-time and adjuncts; departmental products, processes, documentation should be available to all to help create and revise; meetings which both ranks can attend should be held when possible to help increase participation; and faculty mentor, materials, and other resources should be made available to both ranks.