Proposal For an Adjunct Faculty Development Program at a Community College

©2001 C. A. Keeth Williams

edited 7/11/01
This proposal lays out the development and implementation of an adjunct faculty development program utilizing relevant results from the Carreiro, Guffey, and Rampp study to develop a paradigm for the teaching of part-time teachers in community colleges (1999). This pilot program will be implemented in the Business and Computer Information Systems department. At the conclusion qualitative and quantitative data will be analyzed to determine if the program has been effective addressing adjunct faculty concerns regarding development opportunities and various polices and procedures.

The Community College (CC)

The Community College is a public, two-year college with nearly 10,000 students, including students from 40 countries. The Community College is located on a 123-acre site, park- like campus in a suburban community outside Philadelphia and has six other locations. The Community College offers forty programs of study to prepare our students for a career or transfer to a four-year institution. There are currently thirty-nine transfer agreements with four-year institutions located in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

The College is divided into five academic departments by the following disciplines, Allied Health & Nursing, Business Administration & Computer Information Systems, Communication/Arts and Humanities, Math/Natural Sciences/Engineering/Technologies, and Social Science & Public Service. The focus of this pilot program for adjunct faculty development will be in the Department of Business Administration & Computer Information Systems.

The Dean of this Department indicated that currently there are 20 full time faculty and approximately 120 to 133 adjunct faculty during the fall and spring semesters, respectively. The statistical data for the current academic year is as follows:

  Fall 2000 Spring 2001

Full-time faculty

20 20
Part-time faculty 120 133
% faculty adjunct 85.7% 86.9%
% classes taught by adjunct 51% 56%

Needs Assessment

The Dean of Business and Computer Information Systems indicated that the evaluation process is now comprised of the following components:

Standard hiring qualifications/criteria

* Student evaluation
* Dean evaluation

Development program

The qualifications required for employment in this department include an MBA or Masters degree and 2-3 years of college teaching, preferably at a community college. Training or business experience may be substituted for the college teaching requirement as determined by the Dean. This substitution is common especially for the computer training courses.

The orientation of new adjunct faculty is handled by the Dean and according to him an area that could probably use improvement. The duration of this process is a direct result of the time availability of the Dean. A comprehensive employee handbook has been prepared that includes information such as academic calendar, institutional values and mission, Website, criteria for effective instruction and faculty evaluation procedures. In addition it includes sections on support services within the college, and classroom and emergency procedures.

The evaluation process for adjunct faculty is two-fold. Student evaluations are completed for all courses taught in the Fall semester and the Dean does a classroom observation. Adjunct faculty falling below the acceptable standards must meet with the Dean for improvement suggestions. Those adjunct faculty with unacceptable fall evaluations are targeted in the spring semester for evaluations by their students.

The development or in-service program occurs once in both the fall and spring semesters. The format consists of a dinner held during the evening with remarks by the V. P. of instruction and others. Afterwards there is usually a three-track program that deals with such topics as instruction techniques utilizing technology, tours to new classroom types such as the physics lab that utilizes collaborative technology techniques or the accreditation process and presentation of the Middle States Report. This program is not mandatory and adjuncts are paid for their time present. The program culminates with individual discipline workshops and meetings run by the respective Deans.

The feedback collected from a majority of the adjunct faculty at the past two programs indicates that there is growing dissatisfaction with certain policies and procedures as well as talk of unionization. As recommended by Lawler and King (2000) this information was collected both formally, by structured survey, and informally by talking and listening to various constituencies that included adjunct faculty, full time faculty union representative and others. The Deans met in response to this information and have decided that the Department of Business & Computer Information Systems will design and implement a pilot project over the next academic year. The adjunct faculty committee has been formed and consists of adjunct faculty representing the disciplines within the business department, a human resource representative, and the business coordinator of ftill time faculty. This committee produced recommendations to improve the development program for adjunct faculty.

Organization of Development Program

There are five documented approaches to adjunct faculty development-the curriculum development approach, staff development through peer support, personnel management approach, and adult education approach (ERIC, 1986). The conceptualization of these various approaches seek to instruct adjunct faculty in pedagogical techniques to improve instructional quality as well as integrate them into the college community (ERIC, 1986). In 1999 Carreiro, Guffey and Rampp conducted a study of adjunct faculty development programs. Their findings on effective design include the areas of pre-service (orientation), governance (locus of authority and decision making), substance (content and process), delivery (trainer/trainee interface, incentives) and mode (forms and variety of training). Using these findings as a basis the organization of the Community College's program will include the following additions and/or changes.

Orientation: The Community College manual is comprehensive and an acceptable format for adjunct faculty. However, the orientation by the Dean needs to be overhauled. The orientation, based on Carreiro, (1999) will occur prior to the start of each semester for a full day and new adjunct faculty attendance is mandatory. The program will include coverage of the handbook and coffee period to allow faculty to mingle and meet each other. In addition there will be sessions to discuss the following topics:

textbook selection
school resources
course organization: syllabi preparation, lesson plans, test preparation
pedagogical techniques.

Governance: The plan will include attendance requirement for orientation and various workshops during the first year, similar to requirements for continuing teacher certification. Tiers will be created that allow salary increases for adjunct faculty with increasing levels of service, expertise and responsibility similar to the steps that currently exist for full-time faculty.

Substance: The content of the faculty development workshops shall be the purview of the newly created adjunct faculty committee in conjunction with the respective Dean. The areas to be included will be formatted to increase knowledge and quality of teaching for all adjunct faculty. This content and process will coordinate with the salary step increases in compensation.

Delivery: Mentors will be comprised from the full-time faculty ranks. This will allow interaction between adjunct and full-time individuals to attempt to reduce the adjuncts' feeling of isolation. In addition the full-time faculty may assist as trainers in the adjunct faculty program.

Mode: Communication with the adjunct faculty will occur by means of e-mail and written notices. The goal is to provide as many opportunities for adjunct participation at workshops, faculty meetings, self-improvement studies or other growth opportunities as they arise.

Benefits and Cost

The benefits that are envisioned are improved quality of teaching by the adjunct faculty so that differentiation in instruction does not occur between ftill-time and adjunct faculty. In addition it is hoped that this program will provide equity for the part-time cohort through inclusion and involvement with the full-time faculty. Compensation increases will be a direct result of continuing participation in the in-service programs. Another benefit is the hope that this cohort will serve as an applicant pool for full-time employment when the opportunities arise.

The Deans have agreed to contribute $6000 from each departmental budget toward the implementation of this pilot project. Therefore the budget for the year pilot project will be $30,000. It is budgeted as follows:

Preservice meeting
Fall $3750

Spring $3750
Workshops (One per semester covering one weekend)
Trainer Fall $1800

Trainer Spring $1800

Breaks,Lunch $4800 ($2400 x 2)
Base salary included in department budget (1800/course)

First step $ 5000 (2000/course) 25 faculty 5 yrs CC

Second step $ 6000 (2200/course) 15 faculty more than 10 yrs. CC

Contingency $ 3100

Total .............$30,000


Analysis of Pilot Program

The pilot program will be assessed at the end of the pilot year using data, both qualitative and quantitative, to determine whether it met the needs as discussed. The developer will assist the committee in deterinining the best means for evaluation of the pilot program. At all times the committee will make their decisions keeping the political and cultural arena in mind. Also the role of the full-time faculty coordinator is to insure that any perceived risks for full-time faculty are addressed.

The goals/objectives are defined as:

1. improved quality of teaching

2. equity for adjunct faculty through inclusion and involvement

3. compensation increases

4. creation of applicant pool for full-time position.

The proposed changes within the organization section will be measured, using methodology determined by the committee with input from the faculty developer, to determine if these benefits (goals/objects) were realized.

The committee has done some preliminary research about evaluation techniques According to Caffarella (1994) it is important to have set procedures for analyzing data, because one of the most frequent flaws in the evaluation process is the inadequate planning of data analysis procedures (Knox, 1986). Caffarella (1994) describes the quantitative and qualitative approaches and how they differ in evaluations focusing on participants' learning, program operations, organizational issues and societal issues (in this case cultural). Also, some program evaluations rely on single data sources and others rely on multiple data sources. Lawler and King (2000) indicate that these methods include questionnaires, case studies and organizational records and documents (Caffarella, 1994; Parrott, 1998). They add that in higher education, student class evaluations, peer review and self-assessment by the faculty may also be used to collect data regarding changes that occurred as a result of the professional development activity.

After this analysis the determination will be made as to whether the benefits exceed the costs and whether this pilot program is successful and approved for implementation college-wide.

Literature Review

Todd (1996) believes that the problems of part-time faculty are identified by observation and include inadequate pay, no health benefits, no job security, little respect, no support services, no private work space and alienation from the very department or college for which they work. Dr. Todd as a faculty member of the English Department at the Community College of Allegheny County offers ways to recruit, train and develop quality part- time faculty.

Gappa's (1984) study of part-time faculty indicates that institutions can establish policies and procedures that differentiate among part-timers based on their individual characteristics and the reasons for which they were employed. These policies and practices should encompass recruitment and hiring, assignment and workload, support services, participation in governance, compensation, fringe benefits and job security.

Roueche, (1995) used the word integrate to describe what community colleges must do to ensure that adjunct teachers are successful, valued, and supported. For the most part, part-time faculty feel powerless, alienated, invisible and second class. Administrators are of the opinion that orientation and in-service programs are the best methods of imparting information and training to part-time teachers (Carreiro, (1999).

Lawler and King (2000) state that adult learning theory tells us that adult learners can identify their learning needs, that they are interested in learning information to help them do their jobs, and that they tend to want to learn things that they can put to use in a timely manner. Caffarella (1994) states there are some significant reasons for planning for a transfer of learning; this must be done with all of the stakeholders' best interests in mind. It is therefore imperative that adjunct faculty are involved in the process of development to insure that the programs meet their needs.


___ (1986). Approaches to Staff Development for Part-time Faculty, ERIC Digest, ED270180.

Caffarella, R. S. (1994). Planning Programs for Adult Leamers, Jossey-Bass Publishing, San Francisco.

Carreiro, Jose, Guffey, J. Stephen, and Rampp, Lary C. (1999). A Paradigm for the Training of Part-time Teachers in Community Colleges,

Gappa, Judith M. (1984). Part-time Faculty: Higher Education at a Crossroads, ERIC, ED 284513.

Lawler, Patricia A. and King, Kathleen P. Planning for Effective Faculty Development Using Adult Learning Strategies, Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida.

Roueche, J. E., Roueche, S. D., and Milliron, M.D. (1995). Strangers in their own land. Washington, D.C.: The American Association for Community Colleges.

Todd, Allysen, (1996), A Paradigm Shift: Recruiting, Training, and Developing Quality Part- time Faculty, ERIC, ED 297927.