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ERIC Number: ED521544
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 224
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1241-5377-3
The Socialization of Part-Time Faculty at Comprehensive Public Colleges
Frias, Mary Lou
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Boston
Fiscal constraints, understaffing, increased enrollments, demand for professional education, and the need for a more flexible workforce account for increases in the employment of part-time faculty in higher education. Part-time faculty tend to teach large, introductory courses for first and second-year students, who are in the "risk zone" for retention. Among the different types of four-year institutions, comprehensive public colleges utilize more part-time faculty, educate more undergraduates, and have the most academically diverse student bodies. How part-time faculty learn sophisticated pedagogical skills and cultural understandings of their institutions may be critical to student learning and retention. This phenomenological study explores the first-person accounts of part-time faculty perceptions of socialization as it relates to learning their role in comprehensive public colleges. Three comprehensive public colleges in New England were selected for their intentional practices for supporting part-time faculty Interviews with seventeen part-time faculty were the primary method of data collection. Study findings suggest that part-time faculty receive minimal socialization from their institutions. Standard faculty socialization networks (department meetings, informal collegiality, evaluation, and tenure processes) are unavailable to most part-time faculty. Study participants credit predecessor faculty, department secretaries, informal student feedback, and colleagues external to their institutions as critical to their learning their role. A significant finding of this study is that self-socialization by part-time faculty is critical to learning academic content and pedagogical skills, though learning the context and culture of the organization are difficult in the absence of adequate communication from institutional role senders (senior faculty and department chairs). Though intentional practices were in place in the selected institutions, communication gaps prevented the majority of the study participants from being aware of available handbooks, orientation sessions, professional development opportunities, and teaching awards. Improved institutional support for part-time faculty may serve to strengthen student retention, while acknowledging the value of part-time faculty as a critical resource for student learning and success. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A