Study shows adjuncts feel undervalued, crunched for time
- Research conducted by Cengage and Zeldis Research Associates over a six month period with approximately 500 adjunct instructors revealed that part-time faculty feel disconnected and undervalued compared to their full-time peers, despite feeling they bring value in the form of real-world experience and networking contacts.
- The study also found that more than half of adjuncts want more professional development and collaboration opportunities around the use of digital course materials, eCampus News reports.
- Additionally, 76% reported feeling crunched for time in preparing for courses, a noteworthy factor when considering that they lack similar access to professional development and other resources afforded to full-time faculty — though 66% reported participating in professional development opportunities that were available, despite not being required to.
Adjuncts have made a push in recent years for greater recognition among their peers — efforts that have most notably materialized via unionization efforts on a number of campuses. Recently, one faculty union even suggested that institutions draw adjunct faculty from a hiring pool like other trades. The attention has led several institutions to work toward improving conditions, with Penn State University's Faculty Senate recently suggesting a better career path for non-tenure-track teaching gigs.
With many adjuncts in the Cengage study reporting feeling crunched for time, it's also worth considering the increased time demands of the active and flipped learning models gaining popularity over the "sage on a stage" approach of old. Increased student assignment loads resulting from new models made possible by shifts to digital may require institutions to reconsider class sizes or graduate assistant assignments, or even for individual departments and faculty to rethink syllabi.
Follow Roger Riddell on Twitter