ERIC Number: ED466874
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002
The Accidental Faculty: Adjunct Instructors in Community Colleges.
Ellison, Alicia B.
In 1998, the proportion of full-time faculty at U.S. community colleges was reported to be 36%, versus 64% part time. Adjunct faculty are attractive to community colleges primarily because they provide low-cost labor. The conditions under which many community college adjunct faculty work can contribute to their marginalization as a kind of academic underclass. Cohen and Brawer report that colleges tend to invest few resources in hiring part-time faculty because they view these instructors as transient. This article suggests that the best reasons for hiring adjunct faculty are as follows: when full-time professors are on leave, when no full-time professors with a particular expertise are available, and when enrollment exceeds projections. The author argues that adjunct faculty are well-qualified professionals who should be made full partners in the quest for academic excellence. A comprehensive definition of expectations for part-time instructors could serve to help improve treatment of adjuncts and benefit college operations. Suggestions for adjunct faculty performance improvement include orientation and professional development, performance evaluation, and fair employment practices, including equitable pay. The paper argues for continued research into best practices in the effective use of part-time faculty. (Contains 20 references.) (Author/NB)
Descriptors: Adjunct Faculty, Aging in Academia, College Faculty, Community Colleges, Fringe Benefits, Job Enrichment, Labor Conditions, Organizational Climate, Part Time Employment, Part Time Faculty, Professional Isolation, Quality of Working Life, Teaching Conditions, Two Year Colleges, Wages, Work Environment
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A