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Best Practices for Supporting Adjunct Faculty

Chapter 1 - Deepening Our Understanding of Adjunct Faculty
Lyons, R.E. (2007). Deepening our understanding of adjunct faculty. In R. E. Lyons (Ed.), Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty (pp. 1-12). Bolton, MA: Anker.

The author suggests a typology to describe part-time instructors: specialists, experts, or professionals; freelancers; career-enders; aspiring academics and identifies value and needs of each group.

He posits that the value of part-time instructors lie in their ability to provide the following: 1) a passion for subject-matter and they can share real-world perspective, 2) they have expertise in critical fields, 3) their schedules are flexible, 4) they can have a connection to employers, 5) they can have a connection to fundraisers, 6) they can have a connection to opinion leaders, 7) they can advocate for college in the resident community.

The author identifies what part-time instructors require: 1) orientation to institutional culture and practices, 2) adequate training in teaching and classroom management, 3) a sense of belonging to the institution, 4) ongoing professional development, 5) recognition for quality work.

Appendices: Template: Adjunct instructor Information, Template: Adjunct Instructor Orientation Checklist.


Chapter 2 - Ensuring An Effective Start For Adjunct Faculty: Orientation With Multiple Options
Yee, K. (2007). Ensuring an effective start for adjunct faculty: Orientation with multiple options. In R. E. Lyons (Ed.), Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty (pp. 13-30). Bolton, MA: Anker.

The author details part-time faculty development at University of Central Florida (UCF) where a steady turnover, diversity of background, and decentralized hiring made professional development difficult. UCF part-time faculty self-reports 32% aspiring academics, 18% freelancers, 33% specialists, 17% career-enders.

The university provides three opportunities for adjuncts and all are voluntary. They are: One-hour workshop with faculty center workbook, single day-long retreat, online course.

Appendices: Adjunct Faculty Handbook table of contents, Faculty Center Workbook table of contents, Itinerary at full-day retreat, general knowledge test for adjunct instructors, outline of online course.


Chapter 3 - The Part-Time Faculty Institute: Strategically Designed and Continually Assessed
Hutti, M.H., Rhodes, G.S., Allison, J., & Lauterbach, E. (2007). The part-time faculty institute: Strategically designed and continually assessed. In R. E. Lyons (Ed.), Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty (pp. 31-48). Bolton, MA: Anker. `

The authors describe the assessment process and the consequent part-time faculty development program at University of Louisville (Kentucky).

The sessions to be taught are decided through a survey of part-time faculty in order to determine the topics desired. This initial needs assessment identified the following learning needs which were then taught through the Part-Time Faculty Institute: 1) Facilitating student engagement in the classroom, 2) Instructional design, 3) Diversity in the classroom, 4) Teaching with technology, 5) Testing and evaluation, 6) Designing online learning.

A majority of the part-time faculty preferred a weekday program and, as an incentive, preferred a monetary stipend of $300 rather than an iPod or PDA. The instructors at the institute were required to have at least one university-level teaching award and role-model active teaching strategies as they taught the sessions. The instructors were also paid $200 for each session taught.

The requests for a second round of sessions were: 1) Teaching to different learning styles, 2) Strategies for enhancing active learning. 3) Motivating students, 4) Teaching for deeper learning, 5) The art of leading an effective discussion, 6) Engaging the quiet student.

Appendices: Part-Time Faculty Needs Assessment, Learner Evaluation Form.


Chapter 4 - A Proven Program For Supporting Adjunct Faculty Online
Peterson, D. (2007). A proven program for supporting adjunct faculty online. In R. E. Lyons (Ed.), Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty (pp. 49-67). Bolton, MA: Anker.

The author posits that while use of adjuncts are nearing 60% of all college courses taught, adjuncts have little time for face-to-face professional development. He outlines the associate faculty certification program at Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida.

The program uses for-profit ScenariosOnline with face-to-face seminars. This is unlike a stipend for workshops model. The author outlines the associate model under which the adjunct receives promotion to Associate Faculty with a pay raise, after completing 60 hours of development instruction within three years. This status can be kept current by continuing 20hrs of professional development each year. Each adjunct could choose from a menu of offerings. The faculty seminars topics were determined by surveys and included the creation of an electronic teaching portfolio.

The ScenariosOnline courses taught were: 1) Teaching in the Learning College, 2) Succeeding with online group work, 3) Doing the write thing (developmental writing), 4) Making is all add up (developmental math), 5) Teaching online and assessment.

Appendices: ScenariosOnline Course Structure and Screen Shots.


Chapter 5 - Mentoring Adjunct Instructors: Fostering Bonds That Strengthen Teaching and Learning
Zutter, C. (2007). Mentoring adjunct instructors: Fostering bonds that strengthen teaching and learning. In R. E. Lyons (Ed.), Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty (pp. 68-80). Bolton, MA: Anker.

The author details the adjunct faculty mentoring program at MacEwan College in Alberta, Canada which was implemented to promote lifelong learning among faculty.

The college found that new faculty in general had difficulty with time management, preparing for classes, dealing with difficult students, setting priorities, and feeling secure about teaching. Adjuncts in addition to those concerns, felt particularly more isolated and less attached to the college. Mentoring was proposed to deal with those issues. It was a voluntary program for which both mentor and mentee receive a course release during the year of mentoring. Mentors and mentees applied separately and mentees listed their needs and goals. A Mentoring Program Committee selected dyads based on the stated needs of mentees. Mentors were required to have taught for three years and mentees were required to have taught at least four courses. After separate orientations, the mentors and mentees were introduced to the process and mentees were introduced to mandatory journals for reflective learning. A mentoring partnership agreement was created including schedule of meetings and classroom visits. Summative midyear evaluations and end-or-year final evaluations were submitted to the program coordinator.

Appendices: Mentoring Partnership Agreement.


Chapter 6 - A Mentoring Network For Adjunct Faculty: From Proposal To Pilot To five-Year Plan
Nolan, G., Siegrist, C., & Richard, N. (2007). A mentoring network for adjunct faculty: From proposal to pilot to five-year plan. In R. E. Lyons (Ed.), Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty (pp. 81-106). Bolton, MA: Anker.

The authors detail a chronological narrative from 2003 – 2005 of how Delgado Community College in New Orleans created a mentoring network.

Prior to 2003 what existed at Delgado was a paid, mandatory orientation for adjunct faculty and three books. Two of the books were manuals written by the assistant dean of evening and weekend division: Adjunct Faculty Handbook - regarding college policies and procedures; Nuts and Bolts - a manual on the theory and practice of effective teaching. The third was: A Guide to Classroom Instruction for Adjunct Faculty published by the American Chemical Society.

However, as part-time faculty increased and supervision became unwieldy, the authors proposed a five-year plan to create a mentoring network. The goals were: 1) institutional recognition and appreciation for part-time faculty, 2) indication by part-time faculty that they feel valued, supported and included, 3) a space for part-time faculty and access to their classrooms, 4) college-wide orientation customized for part-time faculty and recognition by part-time faculty that the orientation meets their needs, 5) training for and understanding of administrative policy and procedures, 6) learning-centered instruction for learning-centered teaching, 7) opportunities for part-time faculty to interact with full-time faculty, 8) events that recognize and appreciate the contributions of part-time faculty to the wider campus.

In the first year, the plan was to develop the orientation, handbook, and electronic portfolios.

The goals for years 2-3 was for the orientation to be online and courses developed for 1) managing or launching the first class, 2) preparing for the first test, 3) learning styles, 4) bringing a class to closure.

The goals for years 3-4 was to 1) launch online courses, 2) provide space for adjunct faculty, 3) provide recognition program for adjunct faculty.

Appendices: Letter outlining the duties of the adjunct coordinator, Memo from coordinator reporting on first-year achievements, Program evaluation form, Summary of concerns, suggestions, and requests from 2004-2005, Focus group notes from consultant – 2005.


Chapter 7 - A Consortium Approach To Supporting Part-Time Faculty
Burnstad, H., Hayes, B., Hoss, C., & West, A-M. (2007) A consortium approach to supporting part-time faculty. In R. E. Lyons (Ed.), Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty (pp. 107-117). Bolton, MA: Anker.

The authors detail the work of the Kanas City Professional Development Council (KCPDC), inaugurated in 1994 by eight colleges in the Kanas City area.

The consortium meets six times each year with the chair rotating every two years between a representative of a community college and that of a university. The consortium offers member institutions: 1) Needs Assessment (for full and part-time faculty, support staff, and supervisory staff), 2) Supervisor Development Program (certificate program), 3) Enhancing Teaching and Learning Conference (annually), 4) Master Faculty Workshop (annually), 5) Celebrate, Learn, and Build Workshop (annually), 6) Peer Exchange Program (for clerical staff), Workplace Issues (ongoing seminars), 7) Faculty Certification Program (for full and part-time), 8) On-Campus Presentations (two requests per year from each member institution) 9)Featured Guests or Scholar-in-Residence (national experts), 10) Invitations (by consortium organizations to anyone within the consortium).

In 1999, KCPDC launched programs specifically designed for part-time faculty because a significant number of part-time faculty taught at more than one member organization and were underserved by the consortium professional development program and were poorly prepared to teach.

Adjuncts are invited to complete six core courses: 1) Instructional Strategies (small group discussion with practice application), 2) Evaluating Students Through Test and Writing (developing tests and writing assignments), 3) Impact of Learning Styles (learning styles vs. teaching strategies), 4) Educational Equity Seminar (multicultural education), 5) Legal Issues (sexual harassment prevention), 6) Writing Across the Curriculum (writing assignments specific to courses).

Additionally, adjuncts are required to complete two of the following electives: 1) Classroom Assessment Techniques, 2) Active Learning, 3) Effective Communication, 3) Adult Learning Characteristics, 4) Community-Based Learning. After successful completion of all requirements, adjuncts receive a certificate at an appreciation dinner.

Some member organizations are considering the certificate a requirement of employment, however at the writing of the article, participation was voluntary. The advantages of the consortium are the ability to share resources and issues while distributing cost. The challenge is have all consortium members contribute time and energy equally.


Chapter 8 - An Applied Course In Teaching That Servers The Home and Neighboring Institutions
Lux, T. (2007). An applied course in teaching that servers the home and neighboring institutions. In R. E. Lyons (Ed.), Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty (pp. 118-131). Bolton, MA: Anker.

The author details a graduate course designed and taught by the author at Governors State University near Chicago to prepare master’s candidates to teach communication courses at a community college.

The graduate course provided multiple opportunities for students to teach and be evaluated by both their instructor and classmates - similar to micro-teaching. Students were required to: 1) interview a college instructor, 2) create group email to communicate with classmates, 3) Subscribe to the listserve, Tomorrow’s Professor, 4) review the text Success strategies for adjunct faculty (Lyons, 2004) and the video based on the book, The courage to teach, (Palmer, 1998), 5) Prepare a syllabus, 6) prepare a portfolio, vitae, and cover letter applying for a teaching position.

Appendices: Excerpted comments from students about the course, Course Syllabus.


Chapter 9 - The Associate Program: A Foundation For Professional Growth In Adjunct Faculty
Richardson, R. (2007). The associate program: A foundation for professional growth in adjunct faculty. In R. E. Lyons (Ed.), Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty (pp. 132-142). Bolton, MA: Anker.

The author details efforts at College of Canyons in Santa Clara, California to enhance teaching and classroom management skills of adjunct faculty.

Participation is voluntary and completion results in granting associate status and increased compensation to the participant. The program involves three phases. The first phase, Teaching Skills Workshop, involves a facilitator and four participants who each present 15-minute micro teaching lessons. The lessons are videotaped and the presenter receives immediate written and verbal feedback. Each participant presents two lessons and evaluates six from other participants.

In the second phase, Advanced Teaching Workshop, participants discuss, as a group, topics like syllabus construction, active learning, classroom assessment, learning styles, and educational technology. The workshop discussion is molded to the desires and predilections of the group.

In the third phase, Reflection on Classroom Teaching, each participant is paired with a mentor to discuss planning a lesson. The participant creates a lesson plan, has it approved by the mentor, presents the lesson, receives feedback from the mentor, and then writes a reflection paper analyzing the process. The paper is presented to the mentor, returned for revisions, which is then presented to the facilitation team for approval.

Summative evaluation of the program showed a satisfaction rate of greater than 90%. The author concludes that micro-teaching and one-on-one mentoring, coupled with monetary incentives, is the most cost effective way to improve adjunct teaching. Additional benefits include building collegiality among adjuncts and demonstrating that their teaching is important.


Chapter 10 - Adjunct Faculty Associates Professional Development Program
Barker, K., Mercier, D. (2007). Adjunct faculty associates professional development program. In R. E. Lyons (Ed.), Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty (pp. 143-157). Bolton, MA: Anker.

The authors detail the Adjunct Faculty Associate Program (AFAP) at the University of Connecticut which was designed to: provide competitive acceptance for adjuncts from regional campuses, develop strong pedagogies relevant to each applicants discipline, expose applicants to a range of technologies and curriculum enhancements, encourage creative course materials, encourage applicant to share gained expertise, introduce applicants to resources available at the Institute for Teaching and Learning (ITL) which is the sponsoring institution for AFAP.

Each applicant is evaluated based on their: 1) willingness to travel, 2) a course project that accommodates good pedagogical practices, 3) a course project that allows significant technology involvement, 4) demonstrated expertise in PowerPoint, Photoshop, Dreamweaver or audio/video digitization software, 5) willingness to develop a teaching portfolio, 6) attendance at seminars and workshops at ITL.

Applicants who are selected are paid a stipend equivalent to that paid for a 3-credit course. Authors provide antidotal evidence assembled from participant comments to support the success of the program.


Chapter 11 - Supporting Adjunct Faculty Through Orientation and Mentoring Initiatives and An Online Professional Development Course
Silliman, J.C. (2007). Supporting adjunct faculty through orientation and mentoring initiatives and an online professional development course. In R. E. Lyons (Ed.), Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty (pp. 158-185). Bolton, MA: Anker.

The author details a 2005 initiative by Ivy Tech Community College (ITCC) Southwest in Evansville, Indiana that was designed to develop, support, and retain part-time faculty while improving their integration into the overall faculty community.

The program was funded by the Lilly Endowment and was a three-pronged effort: enhanced orientation, mentoring, and online professional development.

The enhanced orientation did not supplant the faculty handbook but was an additional web-based resource and was organized in sections according to what faculty should know and do: at the beginning of the semester, during the semester, and at the end of the semester.

The mentoring program was a team approach rather than a one-on-one to model in order to promote professional collegially. Team leaders were selected based on their teaching experience, demonstrated interest in teaching improvement, communication skills, knowledge about ITCC, and a willingness to devote 10-20 hours/semester. They can be either full-time faculty or experienced part-time faculty and manage a team of 2-3 members who address the needs of mentees. Team members apply for membership to a team and, after consultation with the academic council, are assigned a team leader and provided a small stipend for their 10-20 hours/semester. Mentees are also provided a stipend and receive a certificate of completion.

The online professional development , called Teaching in the Learning College (TLC), had the following objectives: 1)identify characteristics of learning-centered teaching, 2) identify personal learning styles and use tools to assist students in leveraging their learning style, 3) define adult learners and formulate classroom activities for those learners, 4) use active learning strategies to promote student responsibility for learning, 5) use classroom assessment, testing techniques, and rubrics to evaluate teaching and learning,, 6) promote and use diversity to enable and enrich the learning experience. TLC was blended learning.

The online component provided reading assignments, PowerPoint presentations, and discussion boards. Guest facilitators, who were important college leaders were rotated through the course. There were two face-to-face sessions in weeks two and four. In week four, learners were assigned to teams for a team project. Each team determined the arrangement of face-to-face and online schedule of meetings. The course was evaluated through learner surveys and the author published antidotal comments.

Appendices: Application form for Team Member, Application form for Team Leader, Possible Activities for Teaching-Teams, Teaching in the Learning College: Course Syllabus.


Chapter 12 - A proven, Comprehensive Program For Preparing and Supporting Adjunct Faculty Members
Harber, F. Lyons, R.E. (2007). A proven, comprehensive program for preparing and supporting adjunct faculty members. In R. E. Lyons (Ed.), Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty (pp. 186-198). Bolton, MA: Anker.

The authors detail a program started in 1996 at Indian River Community College (IRCC) in Fort Pierce, Florida.

The five part program was: 1) a systematic orientation of basic policies and procedures, 2) a course titled Instructor Effectiveness Training, 3) a mentoring program, 4) a series of meal meetings among part- and full-time faculty, 5) a materials resource center.

The orientation included a group meeting of the part-time faculty before the annual faculty meeting, as well as, an adjunct handbook and college catalogue. This large-group orientation was followed by a one-on-one or small group meeting of the part-time faculty with the department chair.

The course entailed four sessions of three and one-half hours each on: course planning, course management, strategies for effective instruction, and evaluating student achievement and teaching effectiveness.

The course fostered collegial relationships, gave the course instructors an opportunity to evaluate the critical thinking skills of the new instructors, allow the new instructors to develop an understanding of sound theory and best practices through the journaling assignments.

This consequently improved the retention of students enrolled in the new instructor’s classes and the retention of the instructors themselves.

The course was adapted in 2002 into an online version which provided flexibility to an increasingly time- and place-challenged part-time faculty. However, the online course faced greater attrition with only 51% of adjuncts reporting that the online course prepared them well enough to be an effective instructor compared with 74% who took the face-to-face course.

Mentoring was self-assigned at brown bag lunches and other social mixers. These events recognize the work of part-time faculty and developed collegiality among the faculty.

The information resources included a collection of reference books in the college library, which only 28% of respondents used. The web resources were used by 60% of respondents, which 76% reported to find useful. The authors posit that this low-cost initiative can improve teaching and classroom management skills as well as foster a stronger sense of community.

Appendices: Instructor Effectiveness Training Syllabus.


Chapter 13 - Initiating A Support System For Adjunct Faculty: The First Year
Renninger, L., Holliday, S., & Carter, M. (2007). Initiating a support system for adjunct faculty: The first year. In R. E. Lyons (Ed.), Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty (pp. 199-216). Bolton, MA: Anker.

The authors detail an adjunct training seminar held in late summer of 2006 at Shepherd University, a former community college, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

More than 50% of 100-level courses and 40% of all courses at the university were taught by adjuncts. The university had only 69% of full-time students continue to their sophomore year.

The training seminar was intended to train adjuncts to recognize students who were experiencing problems and connect them to university resources that might help. The seminar was centered on a presentation by, Richard Lyons (who is the editor of this collection of essays).

Meetings were held among university stakeholders to discuss the unique needs of adjunct faculty and adjunct faculty was surveyed to determine their interests and needs.

A “Guide for New Faculty at Shepherd University” was produced with sections that included: campus map, virtual tour, technology, syllabus, faculty directory, service-learning, and internships.

Adjuncts were paid $100 to attend, given a copy of Mr. Lyon’s 2003 book, Success Strategies for Adjunct Faculty, and a copy of the guide book.

The authors provide anecdotal comments and conclusions like: survey adjuncts, involve administrators, included consultants, feed people, provide a book, and never underestimate the commitment of adjuncts.

Appendices: Adjunct Survey, Adjunct Responses, Adjunct Training Event Agenda, Adjunct Participant Event Evaluations.


Chapter 14 - The Two-Year Effort To Build A Program That Provides Part-Time Faculty Pedagogical Support, Community, and A Sense Of Mission
Lambert, H.E., & Cox, M.D. (2007). The two-year effort to build a program that provides part-time faculty pedagogical support, community, and a sense of mission. In R. E. Lyons (Ed.), Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty (pp. 217-240). Bolton, MA: Anker.

The authors describe efforts to support part-time faculty at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and recommendations for universities contemplating similar efforts.

The initiative was based at the university’s Center for Enhancement of Learning and Teaching and modeled after the center’s Faculty Learning Community (FLC) designed for new faculty and graduate students.

An FLC is a voluntary, multidisciplinary group of 6-15 faculty or a combination of faculty, graduate students, and administrators who work collaboratively on nine-month scholarly projects to enhance teaching and learning.

Up until this new initiative, the center chose only to invest in full-time faculty and graduate students for FLCs; however the authors detail an FLC-lite for one semester. This FLC-lite was the model for a 2004 Part-Time and Adjunct Faculty Teaching Program (PTAFTP) designed for part-timers and run also for only one semester.

Participants completing a PTAFTP receive a stipend of $200 (compared with stipends for FLC-lite of full-time faculty - $400 and graduate students - $200).

The goals of a PTAFTP were: provide teaching opportunities, share information, provide professional connections among part-time faculty, provide opportunities to brainstorm issues, provide personal invitations to join professional development opportunities, provide a venue to share ideas, and provide consultations upon request.

The first year was disappointing with only five participants out of 750 part-time faculty.

In 2005, the center changed directors and changed the name of the program to Part-Time Faculty and Adjunct Teaching Enhancement Program (PATEP). Still after personal recruitment by the center’s new director, only 2 part-time faculty participated.

The authors offer “impressions” and “conjectures” that there was a rupture in the relationship between the full- and part-time faculty and that a cultural change at the university was necessary.

In the third year of the program, 2006, the name was changed again to Part-Time and Adjunct Teaching Scholars Program (PTATSP) and the program divided into two parts. Part one was devoted to enhancing the expertise of part-timers and part two was devoted to establishing a climate in which part-timers could function as an integrated segment of the university community. The stipend was increased to $500 and involved a more rigorous study of pedagogy in higher education. Upon completion, participants were awarded the title of Part-Time Teaching Fellow.

The program involved eight meetings each beginning with a brief greeting by a university official such as the provost or a dean and will receive tokens like coffee mugs and pens.

The meeting topics include: teaching and learning styles, creating inclusive classrooms, assessment of student learning, and other topics determined by the group’s interest.

Additionally, the group read and discussed at least two books like What the Best College Teachers Do (Bain, 2004), and Blueprint for Learning (Richlin, 2006).

The authors do not report the participation of the revised program but conclude that part-timers need to enhance pedagogical expertise and put that expertise into practice while colleges need to pay part-timers more money.

The author’s recommendations are: 1) initiate a bottom-up approach with a top-down endorsement, 2) add funding and support for part-time faculty development, 3) look for state and local grants, 4) draw on strengths of staff, 5) cofaciliate with faculty that have the expertise and interest, 6) reward faculty that participate as co-facilitators 7) collect extant information before designing program, 8) communicate with part-time faculty via email, listserv, newsletter, and web site, 9) allow part-timers the chance to raise topics unrelated to meeting topic, 10) provide recognition, 11) address institutional culture.

Appendices: Informal Feedback From Year-One, Focus Group Results 2006.


Chapter 15 - Professional Development Geared To Part-Timers’ Needs: An Adjunct Professor’s Perspective
Schwartz, J. (2007). Professional development geared to part-timers’ needs: An adjunct professor’s perspective. In R. E. Lyons (Ed.), Best practices for supporting adjunct faculty (pp. 241-251). Bolton, MA: Anker.

The author was a practicing physician who is now an adjunct professor teaching at two colleges.

Each of the two colleges had varying degrees of support for adjuncts and the author compares and contrasts the cultures as well as identifies the benefits of each college’s adjunct program.

College A: encouraged self-discovering mentoring - author finds significant for modeling; training with four Saturday morning courses titled Instructor Effectiveness Training emphasizing sound planning, deeply understanding students, active learning, and techniques to assess students – this provided author with important self-confidence; adjunct recognition held as family dinner event hosted by college president – had lasting impression on author; evaluation done by students at midterm and shared with adjunct after semester – considered important and authentic evaluation, but author would prefer access to evaluation during the teaching semester to correct course; scheduling done with equal consideration of full- and part-time instructors; low pay but author considered training and collegiality as important as pay.

College B: no mentoring or training and stated effort required by adjuncts in classroom is minimized, however college only retains those adjuncts that take initiative to implement active learning techniques – author posits a sink or swim strategy; recognition was surprise visits to classroom by department chair for awards in front of students – author preferred evening recognition with family and colleagues present; written evaluation done by department chair after observation – author questions if snapshot evaluation is accurate; scheduling is done arbitrarily by department chair with preference towards full-time instructors – author feels this disadvantages adjuncts who may work for more than one institution and travel time becomes important; pay is high but creates hostility among full-time faculty.

Author concludes that college A demonstrates that they value adjuncts as a part of the whole faculty while college B considers adjuncts as “hired help” who do not deserve additional benefits.