Publications and Research

Document Type

Other

Publication Date

7-27-2016

Abstract

There is mounting concern over the influence that hiring larger percentages of adjunct faculty has had on the quality of instruction delivered in higher education. Studies have noted these contingent workers are being hired as an economic resource or commodity rather than viewed as academic partners. This basic inductive study on adjunct faculty in northeast U.S. two-year colleges was important to add to the existing body of knowledge. Utilizing a basic inductive approach allowed the researcher to explore adjunct faculty experiences and to gather data through individualized, semi-structured interviews. Data analysis was examined through the lens of hygiene-motivation theory that explores the levels of satisfaction an individual has at work. This study yielded three super-ordinate themes: awareness of individual reasons to teach, reinforcement, and relationships. Results showed that participants felt a strong value for teaching and that they supported the belief that it was vital to provide students with a quality education. This study found that adjunct faculty experienced mixed emotions of joy, isolation, and need, among others, in their teaching role as adjunct faculty. Satisfaction and dissatisfaction shifted based on the participants' perception of the institutional support they received and what their primary motivation was to teach. The study revealed that the adjunct faculty who volunteered to teach were more often satisfied as work than those who needed the extra income to meet financial obligations. This study and subsequent recommendations are relevant for administrators and faculty coordinators who hire adjunct faculty, as these leaders attempt to advance quality pedagogy. Conclusions from this study recommend that additional research should be conducted to further explore adjunct faculty experiences and to find better ways to enhance their teaching and learning skills. This will help advance quality pedagogy.

 
 

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