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.
Langen, J. M. (2011). Evaluation of adjunct faculty in higher education institutions. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 36(2), 185-196. doi:10.1080/02602930903221501
In this study Langen looks at how adjunct faculty are often evaluated through a strategic analysis project involving 155 responses (of 750 surveys sent, a reasonable 21% response rate) to college administrators in the Michigan system. Her data shows that there are a wide number of evaluation practices for adjuncts and that many of them do not parallel that of full-time faculty. One of the important factors in professional development for adjunct faculty (and any other group) is that of evaluation. This report shows the disparity between institutions when applying evaluation practices.
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.
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.