Tag Archives: professional development

Critical foundations: Delivering standardized professional development to adjunct faculty

Louch, L., & Simpson, S. (2014). Critical foundations: Delivering standardized professional development to adjunct faculty. Paper presented at the Higher Learning Commission 2014 Annual Conference, http://cop.hlcommission.org/Learning-Environments/louch.html.

This brief essay reviews how Baker College, a private, not-for-profit multi-campus school has approached the professional development of its adjunct faculty and the challenges faced in that process.  By using standardization of professional development Baker College has been able to leverage data gathered to make data-driven decisions and create a shared culture of knowledge and goals at the same time.  With a multi-campus environment they have discovered that delivering standardized materials is much more effective for adjuncts when done via multiple delivery methods.  The data that they have been able to gain because of standardization have shown a “notable increased level of understanding and implementation of various teaching, learning, and assessment concepts and strategies.”

Adjunct versus full-time faculty: Comparison of student outcomes in the online classroom

Mueller, B., Mandernach, B. J., & Sanderson, K. (2013). Adjunct versus full-time faculty: Comparison of student outcomes in the online classroom. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(3) Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol9no3/mueller_0913.htm

This study conducted at Grand Canyon University looks at the belief that adjuncts are less effective teachers than the traditional full-time faculty member.  The unique component of this research is that the study looks at one online course that has standardized content, activities, and assessment.  The components that can be personalized by the instructors are inclusion of supplemental course content; interaction with students; and nature of feedback.  For this one institution and this one class they did discover that students tended to successfully complete the course; were less likely to withdraw from the course; and had a higher mean average course grade in their next course; and a higher rate of both continued enrollment and end-of-course satisfaction.  The authors go on to discuss some of the issues that might contribute to these results.  These include a lack of access to training/professional development; lack of a community of practice; and lack of access to resources such as administrative and technical support. Recommendations include: fostering an integrated faculty body; targeted faculty development programming; better communication; and examining existing policies in the light of increased adjunct faculty usage by institutions.

What adjuncts need

Karpf, J. (2015). What adjuncts need. Chronicle of Higher Education, 61(26), B30-B30.

This brief Chronicle article discusses four main needs of adjuncts, as seen by the author.  Job security tops the list, followed by livable wages, health and retirement benefits, and institutional support to do what they’ve been hired to do.  Unions are touted as one way of providing an avenue to help meet these needs.  Using the 2012 report by the Coalition on the Academic Workforce the author makes a case for meeting the needs of adjunct faculty through the unionization of contingent faculty.

A canadian college where adjuncts go to prosper

June, A. W. (2010). A canadian college where adjuncts go to prosper. Chronicle of Higher Education, 56(41), B39-B41. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/A-Canadian-College-Where/123629/

Vancouver Community College (VCC) in has, over a two-decade, period managed to develop a program that lends to solidarity among part-time and full-time faculty, creating a one-faculty environment.  Unlike many programs in the U.S. Vancouver offers its adjuncts job-security and much more equitable situations than U.S. institutions.  The Chronicle of Higher Education article details some of the differences between the VCC program and many higher education institutions in the U.S.  Some notable differences are the ability to move from a part-time status to a more “regular” status in which there is more job security.  Compensation is also based on the compensation of full-time faculty, not solely what the market will bear in paying adjuncts.  VCC adjuncts who meet certain criteria can also qualify for professional development opportunities such as the cost of conferences and  research subscriptions.  VCC and the union representatives are still working toward even more equitability, but they have made good progress.

A portrait of part-time faculty members

Coalition on the Academic Workforce. (2012). A portrait of part-time faculty members [electronic resource] : A summary of findings on part-time faculty respondents to the coalition on the academic workforce survey of contingent faculty members and instructors. Retrieved from http://www.academicworkforce.org/CAW_portrait_2012.pdf.

This report looks at demographics, compensations & benefits, and professional support of over 19,000 survey respondents.  Much of the qualitative data was gleaned from the over 30,000 responses to two open-ended comments.  The report found that a higher percentage of women and a lower percentage of minority provided information as compared to the distribution shown in the 2009 NCES data.  The data also raises questions about the belief that part-time faculty are either young, up and coming faculty or those teaching in a second, part-time career as more than 70% were in their prime earning years (ages 36 – 65).  Community colleges and master’s institutions were where the most courses were taught.  Additional demographic areas of questioning include length of service, desire for full-time work and teaching load.  The section on compensation and benefits held no surprises, pay is low, with unionized institutions paying slightly better.  There is little variation by gender, but significant variation by race or ethnicity.  Institutional support was also investigated and found to “paint a dismal picture”, showing that there is little support for part-time faculty.  The tables appended to the report and the notes and works cited are valuable components of this work.