Tag Archives: retention

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.

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.

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.

Online human touch (OHT) training & support

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.