A Case Study of Adjunct Faculty: Community and Collegial Support

A Case Study of Adjunct Faculty: Community and Collegial Support

Author: 
Lynn M. Doran
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
Adjunct faculty members will continue to meet the majority of instructional needs in U.S. community colleges; however, adjunct faculty lack of inclusion in their communities of practice is a reality of growing concern. To determine how to help adjunct faculties better conceptualize and connect to their communities of practice, this qualitative single case study led to an answer to a research question about how collegiality, derived from participation in communities of practice, support the course development and teaching practices of adjunct faculty members in a technical college. Qualitative in-depth interviews with nine adjunct faculty and three program chairs from one community college in the Midwest, with related document review led to content analysis, resulting in five major themes pertaining to (a) variations among departmental communities of practice with some college-wide support, (b) self-initiated collegiality through voluntary networking, (c) pre-determined curriculum and minimal course development, (d) teaching practice support when needed, and (e) the need to improve communities of practice. The discussion of findings occurs in light of the theory of legitimate peripheral participation. The results of this study added knowledge about adjunct faculty membership in their communities of practice, and led to recommendations for leadership and suggestions for future research to further understanding of meanings and relationships surrounding adjunct faculty participation and inclusion in their communities of practice.
Dedication: 
For Roy and Naomi, Father and Mother- For Charles and Myrtle, Grandfather and Grandmother- From the Christian Bible: “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; Seek, and you will find; Knock, and it will be opened to you” Luke 11:9
Acknowledgements: 
It is with much humility, respect, and gratitude that I recognize the assistance and support of many people without which this study would not have been possible. My mentor and committee chair, Dr. Michael Novello, continued to provide me with motivation and encouragement throughout the dissertation process and several periods of absences. Dr. Novello, your support and patience has been much appreciated. You were steadfast in your belief that I would reach my research goal and your encouragement motivated me to keep going forward. Dr. Jymmyca Wyatt and Dr. Carol Hall, committee members, who extended their time and talents to my dissertation process, staying with me to the end of this journey and helping me realize a lifelong learning goal, I thank you. Next, I would like to acknowledge the University of Phoenix staff and departments who acted in roles of support and assistance for me as I relied on them to schedule classes and changes during my doctoral journey pathway. The University of Phoenix academic and financial advisors, technical assistance specialists, and, the School of Advanced Studies worked tirelessly to make this dissertation possible and I acknowledge your dedication in service for doctoral learners, such as myself, who brought many questions to you that were answered so promptly. Finally, I wish to thank leadership from my study community college for hearing and understanding my passion for pursing my research study, for their involvement and assistance in helping me conduct my study, and for their interest in helping me reach my research goals. Your assistance required taking your valuable time to provision me with needed resources and access to your facilities and employees. I could not have done this without you.