Tag Archives: developmental education

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.