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ERIC Number: ED561121
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 10
Contingent Commitments: Bringing Part-Time Faculty into Focus. A Special Report from the Center for Community College Student Engagement
Center for Community College Student Engagement
Part-time faculty teach approximately 58% of U.S. community college classes and thus manage learning experiences for more than half (53%) of students enrolled in community colleges (JBL Associates, 2008). Often referred to as "contingent faculty," their work is conditional; the college typically has no obligation to them beyond the current academic term. At many colleges, the use of contingent faculty began with hiring career professionals who brought real-world experience into the classroom. Historically, colleges also have hired contingent faculty when enrollment spiked, the college needed to acquire a particular type of expertise, or full-time faculty members were not available to teach a particular course. Increasingly, however, contingent faculty have become a fundamental feature of the economic model that sustains community college education. Because they typically have lower pay levels than full-time faculty and receive minimal, if any, benefits, part-time faculty are institutions' least expensive way to deliver instruction. As public funding, as a percentage of college costs, has steadily declined--and as colleges have been forced to find ways to contain costs so they can sustain college access--the proportion of part-time faculty has grown at colleges across the country. Today part-time faculty far outnumber full-time faculty at most colleges. For the past three years, the Center for Community College Student Engagement has listened systematically to part-time faculty and their full-time colleagues, including faculty, staff, and administrators. This report, which draws in part on 32 focus groups with these individuals, aims to help colleges improve engagement with part-time faculty so more students have access to the experiences that will lead to success. [For the Methodology Supplement, see ED561120.]
Center for Community College Student Engagement. 3316 Grandview Street, Austin, TX 78705. Tel: 512-471-6807; Fax: 512-471-4209; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: MetLife Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center for Community College Student Engagement
Identifiers - Location: Florida; Illinois; Massachusetts; Michigan; New Jersey; North Carolina; Texas; Vermont