Type of Document Dissertation Author Bogert, Dorothea Taylor Author's Email Address DTBogert@tampabay.rr.com URN etd-02052004-025703 Title Use of Part-Time/Adjunct Faculty in Community Colleges: A Multi-Case Study of Three Florida Community Colleges Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Joseph C. Beckham Committee Chair Barbara A. Mann Committee Member Beverly L. Bower Committee Member James P. Sampson Committee Member Keywords
- Job Satisfaction
- Higher Education
Date of Defense 2003-10-02 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe purpose of this study was to explore the use of part-time faculty at three Florida community colleges using a case study design. The in-depth analysis helped to describe who serves as part-time faculty and illuminate the reasons they teach as adjuncts. In addition, the researcher analyzed the policies in use for part-time faculty at selected community colleges in Florida and determined how adjunct faculty are affected by these policies. Finally, within the context of the community college, the study analyzed the job satisfaction of the adjuncts as it pertains to job satisfaction theory and how their perceptions and experiences differed.
A multi-site case study was conducted at three community colleges in Florida. These institutions were designated as Rural Community College (RCC), Transfer Community College (TCC), and Urban Community College (UCC). Each institution was selected based on availability, demographics, and location. Focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and telephone interviews were utilized to collect data for interpretation. Collected data was used to address the following research questions: 1. What are the demographic characteristics and academic backgrounds of the participants of the study in the three community colleges studied? 2. What are the reasons for teaching part-time of the faculty members in the three community colleges studied? 3. What are the job satisfactions and dissatisfactions of the part-time faculty in the three community colleges studied? 4. Are there differences in the perceptions or experiences of the community college part-time faculty studied? 5. What are the institutional influences and policies affecting the use of part-time faculty at the community colleges studied?
In analyzing the data, the following demographics of the 26 participants were found: Fifty percent of the participants were between the ages of 46 and 60. The gender breakdown was 62% women and 38% men, and 77% of the participants were white. All but two adjuncts had their Masterís degree, and five held doctoral degrees. Fields of study ranged from mathematics to remedial level reading with more than 10 fields of study represented. There was a combined total of 170 years of adjunct teaching experience with a mean number of years of eight. Eleven participants worked only as part-time instructors, and nine of the participants worked full-time outside of teaching. The remaining adjuncts worked as part-time instructors with additional part-time jobs. Thirty-eight percent of the adjuncts were pursuing full-time positions, and 15% had other career aspirations; the remaining 47% were content with working as part-time faculty.
Numerous reasons were given by the participants for teaching part-time. Some of the most discussed reasons included the following: love of teaching, employed full-time outside the institution, seeking a full-time position, desired experience, wanted part-time only position, liked the flexibility, needed income, enjoyed working with students, enjoyed the community college environment, and derived great personal satisfaction from teaching.
There seemed to be a high level of satisfaction with teaching itself and with teaching students at the institutions. Satisfaction with the institutions varied with dissatisfaction usually resulting from the level of pay and number of classes they could teach. The majority of the participants had high levels of satisfaction with the full-time faculty they encountered. However, satisfaction with other adjuncts was lower because many of the adjuncts had little or no interaction with other adjuncts. One of the highest levels of satisfaction came with support faculty, the office assistants and secretaries. Most of the adjuncts were satisfied with the department administrators. Satisfaction with office facilities varied. Dissatisfaction was the highest in those who were looking for a full-time position and wanted to be more integrated into the institution. Recruitment, orientation, and integration could all be improved according to the participants. Satisfaction with integration often depended on whether or not the individual was interested in a full-time position.
The greatest level of dissatisfaction was with compensation and benefits. For those who were dependent on the income of the part-time position, income and benefits, to a lesser degree, were significant motivators, and the low level of pay impacted their satisfaction levels adversely. For those in full-time positions or with outside income sources, income served more as a hygiene factor. All adjuncts felt they should be paid more for what they were doing. For those who needed medical benefits, there was a high level of dissatisfaction with the lack of benefits.
Another area of dissatisfaction was with evaluations. Although most of the adjuncts appreciated and utilized the student evaluations, they wanted more input from their peers and superiors. For those who had been evaluated by a faculty or supervisor, the adjunct often felt that the evaluation was conducted in such a way as to fulfill an obligation instead of providing useful and constructive criticism and suggestions. Overall, the adjuncts were satisfied, and even with the problems they faced, the majority of them admitted that they would continue to teach as an adjunct.
In analyzing the findings, the separating factors were dependency on income and the perceived equitability of the income in respect to full-time facultyís salaries. All part-time faculty felt they should be paid more for what they were doing whether or not their satisfaction level with income was high, and they felt their pay should be equivalent to full-time faculty. Based on the findings, a job taxonomy was created that categorized adjuncts into three distinct groups: 1. Dependents were teaching because they needed income and many needed the benefits, too. Also, teaching as an adjunct was the primary, if not sole, source of income. Their perceptions were influenced significantly by their need for money or need for a full-time position with benefits. 2. Stables were adjuncts who had other sources of income either from a full-time job, their spouses, retirement, or other ventures, which provided financial stability. Stables seemed to be much more satisfied with every aspect of being an adjunct. 3. Interims included the remainder of the individuals, most of who were in transitional phases in their life.
The following recommendations were suggested to improve job satisfaction levels among adjuncts: 1) improve compensation, 2) develop a benefits program, 3) develop a strong infrastructure, 4) improve orientation, integration, and socialization, 5) improve the evaluation process, 5) provide for quality control, 6) provide for job security, and 7) improve the recruitment and hiring process.
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