Supporting Part-Time Faculty Through Policy Development


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Innovative Educators Webinar 2011

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  • Today we will explore the growing use of adjunct faculty in the community college. We will discuss who adjunct faculty are and their demographic characteristics, why the American Community College has utilized adjunct faculty as a vital resource, and how institutions can address the issue of increasing adjunct use and student success.Secondly we will review the best practices set forth in the existing literature for supporting adjunct faculty, including employment policies and procedures, professional development, and institutional integration.Finally, we will explore adjunct faculty and the possibilities that policy research and development can positively influence student success. We will review my research focus and methodology, and we will develop conclusions regarding the future of adjunct faculty as a vital resource rather than a risky alternative for community colleges and student success.
  • Why has the American Community College utilized adjunct faculty as a vital resource?The emerging issue is haphazard utilization of part-time faculty as a last minute solution to increasing enrollment an inadequate fiscal resources. NCES(2009)- percentage of part-time faculty in the community college has nearly tripled in the last 20 years.Regardless of the continued growth of part-time faculty in higher education, few two-year institutions have addressed the need for comprehensive policies that support effectual employment procedures, professional development requirements, and integration efforts.Greive (1983) and Cain (1999) first described part-time faculty as more connected to the open-door mission of community colleges, reinforcing their role as an ever-expanding demographic. More current research infers that part-time teaching is the future of higher education in the two-year public sector. Reliance on part-time instructors has evolved as a solution to a number of challenges including a growing student enrollment, two-year degree program expansion, supply and demand of high-need discipline faculty, and inadequate fiscal resources.
  • In 2005 community colleges served approximately half of the undergraduate students in the United States, an estimated 6.5 million credit students. Since that time this number has increased to well over 11 million. This increase occurred at a time when community colleges have significantly slashed their budgets causing them to reduce operating expenses by increasing their dependence on part-time faculty. This trend brings with it a series of questions that will be addressed in this talk.An article in Inside Higher Ed (November 2009) highlights the Community College Survey of Student Engagement report’s assertion that the greatest challenge for community colleges is a lack of student-to-faculty interaction. This article points to the lack of student engagement based on an increasing percentage of part-time students and faculty in community colleges, and the declining rate of student success. Although the report's purpose is to "encourage community colleges to offer part-time faculty the same kind of instructional support and development opportunities that are available to their full-time colleagues," the report offers no specific guidelines for policy development. However, in 2010, the Achieving the Dream Initiative released a policy report highlighting the challenges to faculty and institutions regarding student engagement and adjunct faculty. The report provides a variety of best practices utilized at Achieving the Dream colleges. The identified best practices align succinctly with the three identified areas of interest: employment, professional development and institutional integration.Two-year colleges face an overwhelming challenge in developing part-time faculty as an institutional advantage rather than a last minute alternative. Institutions must focus on their needs, missions, and traditions as well as the changing demographics of the available labor market. Concerns regarding the growing use of part-time faculty have been widely studied and analyzed. However, virtually all existing research supports the assertion that part-time faculty are equipped to assist community colleges in reaching their academic outcomes when hired, retained, and supported as a viable workforce demographic (Gappa & Leslie, 1993; Jeager & Eagan, 2009; Jeager & Eagan, 2011; Levinson, 2005; Wagoner, Metcalfe, & Olaore, 2005).
  • NCES data from the November 2011 reports the continued growth of part-time faculty in the public two year sector now comprising 70.1 percent of all instructional positions, a 2% increase since the 2004 report.While past studies have been integral in understanding the part-time faculty demographic in community colleges from a national perspective, a more relevant and updated vision of how part-time faculty are selected, integrated, and trained in community colleges is necessary.
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  • A continued awareness of how your institutions are utilizing part-time faculty is paramount at this time. Each institution must consider local culture and demographics when attempting to categorize and address differing part-time faculty groups.
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  • Page 20Alice Villadsen-League Innovator “Since Alice customizes her workshops to meet specific needs/concerns, she would prefer talking with you to see what your needs are before she began the process of developing a customized training program. For instance, the audience might be administrators, as the online workshop description states. But a workshop might also be addressed to faculty and adjuncts themselves to work out a new plan for using adjuncts. What Achieving the Dream, for which Alice is a coach, has discovered is that adjunct faculty are not only good to have available and trained, but are essential faculty to have on board. They certainly need to be knowledgeable about the retention/completion agenda that colleges are facing. Often it is the adjunct instructor who teaches a majority of developmental English, reading, and math courses at the college, the place where so many students struggle. Also, they are often used in the gatekeeper course, those highly enrolled and most challenging of our courses, like college algebra, freshman English, or the beginning computer information system course. Unless colleges devote significant planning and resources into recruiting, hiring, and evaluation efforts with adjuncts, they are placing our most fragile students into the hands of the individuals at the college who get the least attention and opportunities to develop. Research is growing about the amazing effectiveness of most adjuncts, but individual college research needs to focus upon the success of students taking many of their beginning courses from adjuncts.  Questions in an adjunct workshop might include these: Are qualified adjuncts available? If not, how can we find more?Are there certain courses where adjuncts are more successful than others if we examine student retention and academic success?What is the "value added" in hiring full-time faculty? Is there data to support this assumption?What services does the college need to provide to adjuncts?Should we require training of all adjuncts?Should we pair them with mentors? Which mentors? What should be the role of the mentor?How can we engage adjuncts more into the life of the college?Should we pay them for professional development? Certification? Departmental and/or other faculty meeting attendance? Longevity? Student outcomes?Do we pay adequately to make adjunct teaching attractive to the best candidates?How do we hire them? orient them? evaluate them?What should be the job description for adjuncts? What besides simply teaching a class should be included in their responsibilities?How do we train them to use the college computing systems? instructional technology?What sort of personal freedom in the classroom should we provide adjuncts? Should there be more than a common syllabus and textbook required?Are they involved in the establishment of learning outcomes for the courses they teach?Is there a rewards and recognition program for adjuncts at the college? Other ways to make them feel highly valued? These are the sorts of questions that are being asked today by community colleges who rely heavily on their adjunct instructors.” 
  • According to Wallin (2007) there are several common components that are specifically relevant for community college part-time faculty professional development programs. Institutions should be prepared to provide funding for part-time faculty with specific professional development needs, as documented in professional evaluations, student evaluations, and mentoring sessions. Institutions should also ensure access and funding for robust professional development opportunities for part-time faculty, while identifying a wide variety of delivery modes. Among the best practices reviewed in the literature, several common approaches to the professional development programs for adjunct faculty were identified. Providing a structured adjunct faculty orientation as an introduction to the institution and its culture can provide a level of comfort to all constituents. In additional to a brief overview of teaching methods and resources, institutions can benefit greatly from providing additional development opportunities regarding teaching methodology, learning styles, pedagogy, resource availability and technology usage as an extended resource for adjunct faculty (AFT, 2002; Cross & Goldberg, 2003; Green, 2007).
  • Part-time faculty must be given ample opportunities to integrate themselves into the community college and its culture, traditions, and educational missions. Part-time instructor integration programs differ in length, format, scope, and continuation across institutions. This type of integration process, when constructed properly, provides a variety of benefits for the adjunct instructor, as well as full-time faculty and the institution. A variety of topics have been identified in the existing literature as focal points for orientation programs including, but not limited to: benefits, obligations, evaluations, integration efforts, navigation of the physical institution and online course management system, departmental contacts,legal obligations of the institution and the faculty member, and student and faculty support resources. According to Gappa and Leslie (1993), successful adjunct faculty orientation programs, across all demographics include four common components:A social event of some kind is held.A general introduction to the institution is conducted, usually in the form of handbooks and other written information.An overview of effective teaching is provided.Linkages to departmental faculty are established, which sometimes means the assignment of a full-time faculty mentor.(p. 183)Authors such as Gappa and Leslie (1993), Greive and Worden (2000), Lyons (2007), and Rouche (1994) provide various models and best practices in organizing and implementing successful part-time faculty orientation programs. What programs, insert models here. When integrated into their institutional culture and provided ample professional development, part-time faculty can be highly successful (McGuire, 1993). Also address instructor evaluations, merit increases and promotion.Also address academic freedom
  • Johnson County Community College began its focused journey toward professional development for adjunct faculty in 1983 (Lyons, 2007). Since its inception, the faculty development program has focused on integration efforts, beginning with the hiring process and continuing throughout the instructor’s time at JCCC (Burnstad, 2002; Lyons, 2007). Johnson County focuses on collaborative initiatives that span the institution, departments and individuals, providing adjunct certification, resources, and commitment to the learning college mission and goals (Bethke and Nelson, 1994).In 2000, JCCC presented findings from a study of adjunct faculty at their institution. Focus groups and input from adjunct faculty advisory committee were used to develop the survey instrument. Approximately 305 of 552 surveys were returned. Findings found that the majority of part-time faculty were satisfied with their teaching positions, although there were some aspects of their employment that wee troublesome: salary levels, benefits, employment status. They wanted input on schedule and course loads. The noted a lack of workspace and access to email at home. 50% per either waiting for full-time employment at the college or actively searching for employment elsewhere.Some recommendations and conclusions lead JCCC to also devote additional time during the faculty orientation program to items of interest, as well as add a refresher opportunity. At this time JCCC employees approximately 1800 part time faculty and staff.
  • Valencia Community College has developed a comprehensive professional development program for adjunct faculty. Valencia offers flexibility in the delivery of this program by offering on-line development opportunities that qualify adjunct faculty members to receive more equitable pay and the title of “associate faculty” (Jaschik, 2008). The large population of adjunct instructors at Valencia, 43% of all sections and 80% of remedial math sections are offered a variety of professional development courses on applicable topics, whether pedagogy specific or all-encompassing (Jaschik, 2008; Lyons, 2007). Innovative approaches such as the aforementioned programs can serve as a catalyst for change in the community college setting. Community colleges should institutionalize some form of quality assurance if the institutions focus and priorities support the formation of a professional development program for part-time instructor (HLC, 2009). The learning college focus requires a quality learning experience for all students and faculty members. Most agree that foundational programs such as those mentioned can serve as the building blocks for an institution of any size.
  • New Faculty Majority Goals:Compensation: Equity in Compensation: Equal Pay for Equal WorkJob Security: Equity in Job Security: Automatic Contract Renewals after Probationary PeriodAcademic Freedom: Equity in Academic Freedom: Freedom from Retaliation in All Teaching and ResearchFaculty Governance: Equity in Faculty Governance - Right to Participate Equally for All Faculty MembersProfessional Advancement: Equity in Professional Advancement: Progressive Salary Steps and Equal Access to Professional Development Opportunities for All FacultyBenefits: Equity in Benefits: Access to the Same Health Insurance & Retirement Benefits for AllUnemployment Insurance: Equity in Unemployment Insurance: Access to the Same Benefits as Other Employees between JobsAFT/FACE campaign: FACE is designed to achieve two goals simultaneously:Achieving full equity in compensation for contingent faculty members; andEnsuring that 75 percent of undergraduate classes are taught by full-time tenure and tenure track faculty and that qualified contingent faculty have the opportunity to move into such positions as they become available. (go to links on right side of screen)CPFA:reading material list and spotlight olinksTHE ADJUNCT PROJECT: The Adjunct Project is a way for us to compile data on treatment of contingent faculty. Combining our knowledge and resources will help us all to better understand the reality of life as an adjunct professor. The goal of this website is to identify universities that set the standard for best practices with regard to adjuncts. The best schools should be recognized and honored for what they are doing. The project is also designed to promote transparency in higher education employment practices for the sake of teachers, students, and parents.ADJUNCT UNITY.ORG:Grassroots organization that focuses on information that adjuncts need to make important decisions, health benefits, employment opportunties, and other timely issues. They have links for issues, a web blog and discussion forums.
  • Supporting Part-Time Faculty Through Policy Development

    1. 1. Supporting Part-Time Faculty Through Policy Development, Integration & Professional DevelopmentHolly AyersOzarka CollegeDivision Chair-Math, Science and
    2. 2. WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT OUR OWNPART-TIME FACULTY?How many of you work in … A. two-year institutions? B. four-year institutions?Which of the following roles do you fill currently? A. Administrator-Academics B. Administrator-Other C. Faculty D. Other, if so specify:
    3. 3. WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT OUR OWNPART-TIME FACULTY?Does your institution have “enough” full-timefaculty? A. Yes B. No C. Don’t know
    4. 4. WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT OUR OWNPART-TIME FACULTY?Does your institution utilize part-time faculty? A. Yes B. NoDoes your institution utilize part-time faculty in 50% or moreof your course offerings? A. Yes B. No C. Don’t Know
    5. 5. WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT OUR OWNPART-TIME FACULTY?Have you ever or do you currently serve a highereducation institution as a part-time faculty member? A. Yes B. No
    9. 9. WHY PART-TIME FACULTY?Why is your institution utilizing part-time facultymembers?• Increasing Enrollment?• Inadequate Fiscal Resources?• Industry Knowledge and Connections?• Professional Experience?• Other?
    11. 11. WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUTPART-TIME FACULTY?• The role of the part-time instructor in the American Community College is changing o Part-time faculty as the majority• Advantages and disadvantages of employing part- time faculty o Advantages o Disadvantages
    12. 12. WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUTPART-TIME FACULTY?• Research is controversial regarding their impact on students success oRatio of part time to full time is increasing oRatio of male to female oStudent Success
    13. 13. WHO?PART-TIME COMMUNITY COLLEGEFACULTY?• Moonlighters?• Freeway Fliers?• Teachers in Training?• Retired Faculty or Industry Professionals?• Special Program Faculty?
    14. 14. WHO?PART-TIME COMMUNITY COLLEGEFACULTY?• Varying Definitions• Pay?• Job Security?• Benefits?
    15. 15. WHO?PART-TIME COMMUNITY COLLEGEFACULTY?• How does you institution view part-time faculty?• What role do part-time faculty play in your institution?
    16. 16. HOW?PART-TIME FACULTY AND STUDENTSUCCESS• Utilization of Part-Time Faculty o Remediation o General Education o Career Preparation• Level of Qualification
    17. 17. HOW? PART-TIME FACULTY AND BEST PRACTICES• Strong Employment Policies and Procedures• Focused and Intentional Professional Development• Successful Orientation and Integration Policies and Procedures• Assessment and Communication
    18. 18. BEST PRACTICES?EMPLOYMENT• Institutional Policies o Success in the classroom o Clear expectations• Recruitment and Retention o Working conditions o Institutional support o Hiring practices o Professional development
    19. 19. BEST PRACTICES?EMPLOYMENT• Institutional Investment o Teaching assignment o Academic support/Professional development o Institutional support• Employment Classification o Articulated roles and responsibilities• Comprehensive Employment Plans o Support services o Office space
    20. 20. BEST PRACTICES?EMPLOYMENT• Academic support/Professional development• Institutional support• Employment Classification• Articulated roles and responsibilities• League for Innovation in The Community College o Resources to hire, aid, and keep excellent adjunct faculty
    21. 21. BEST PRACTICES?Professional Development• Structured Orientation• Teaching Methods and Resources• Mentoring• Learning College Approach
    22. 22. BEST PRACTICES?Institutional IntegrationStructured Orientation• Benefits and obligations• Evaluations• Navigating the physical institution and LMS• Departmental contacts• Legal Obligations• Faculty Support Systems
    23. 23. BEST PRACTICESModel Programs• Johnson County Community College • Adjunct Certification Training Program • Faculty Listing • Adjunct Faculty Benefits • Adjunct Faculty Compensation
    24. 24. BEST PRACTICESModel Programs• Valencia Community College oAssociate Faculty Annual Certificate Program oScenarios Online
    25. 25. PART-TIME FACULTY AND STUDENTSUCCESS: Policy Development• Remediation/Basic Skills Education• Technical Instruction• Institutional Support Networks• Resource Provision
    26. 26. PART-TIME FACULTYAdvocacy and Current Events• NFM-New Faculty Majority o• AFT-FACE (Faculty and College Excellence) o• CPFA –California Part-time Faculty Association o• The Adjunct Project •• Adjunct o
    27. 27. PART-TIME FACULTY AND STUDENTSUCCESS: Conclusions• Adjunct Faculty as a Resource• Improvement Retention and Completion• Policy Development o Employment o Professional development o Institutional integration
    28. 28. A Policy Analysis forEmployment, ProfessionalDevelopment, and Institution Integrationof Part-Time Faculty in the CommunityCollege• HLC-North Central Association• Public 2-Year Higher Education Institutions oNot 4-year affiliated oUnionized?• Existing Policies Available Via Website• Existing Policies in Three Primary Venues• Model Policy Development
    29. 29. QUESTIONS? Holly AyersDivision Chair-Math, Science, and Education Ozarka College Melbourne, AR 870-368-2040