Tag Archives: working conditions

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.

Chronicle survey yields a rare look into adjuncts’ work lives

Wilson, R. (2009). Chronicle’ survey yields a rare look into adjuncts’ work lives. Chronicle of Higher Education, 56(9), A12-13. http://chronicle.com/article/Chronicle-Survey-Yields-a/48843/

Wilson summarizes Chronicle survey of 625 adjuncts in the Chicago area.  In contrast to the popular belief that adjuncts were working part-time because they could not find full-time work, the Chronicle survey found over half of the adjuncts preferring part-time work and satisfied with their jobs.  Wilson lists brief highlights from the survey including highest degree attained, primary reason for working as a part-time adjunct, satisfaction with working part-time, what types of classes were taught, amount of pay, types of support provided, number of institutions taught in and and types of activities involved in at those institutions.

American academic: A national survey of part-time/Adjunct faculty

AFT Higher Education. (2010). American academic: A national survey of part-time/Adjunct faculty. volume 2. Washington, DC: American Federation of Teachers. Retrieved from http://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/aa_partimefaculty0310.pdf

This 2010 telephone survey of part-time/adjunct faculty conducted by Hart Research Associates on behalf of AFT looked at 500 part-time and adjunct faculty members.  Participants were currently employed as part-time/adjuncts in either a 2-year or 4-year institution (public and private, union and non-union).  Some respondents held full-time positions at other institutions, or outside of higher education.  One notable group not included in this survey were the part-time/adjunct faculty for graduate studies. The survey looks at areas such as attitudes towards part-time teaching; preference for full-time over part-time work; job conditions, including compensation, benefits, work-loads, and support; and motivational aspects such as professional support and advancement opportunities.  Demographically the survey looked at the type of institution; type of employment (teaching jobs or non-teaching jobs outside of the adjunct position); and factors such as sex, seniority, race, and income. While most percentages are well within the realm of expectation, the overwhelming number of respondents that identified as white non-Hispanics (84%) does not speak well to the hiring of a racially diverse teaching force.