Incentivizing Adjunct Faculty Participation in Professional Development

Incentivizing Adjunct Faculty Participation in Professional Development

Lori J. Cooper (Grand Canyon University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6758-6.ch012
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Without professional development, faculty members may not stay current in their methods and techniques for teaching, which can translate into a less effective learning environment for students. With online education and programs growing in an upward trend, it is imperative that faculty members have access to professional development that support current online teaching methodology and pedagogical/andrological practices. Turning to motivational methods may increase the level of engagement with professional development, where adjunct faculty members feel they are rewarded for their time and participation. This chapter uses motivation theories as a framework to review the existing literature on incentives for online adjunct faculty members who engage in professional development and the best practices for professional development. Colleges and universities can use this information to establish professional development programs and practices that may increase the level of online adjunct faculty members' participation in professional development opportunities.
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Adjunct Faculty

Part-time faculty represent more than half of the total of 1.5 million faculty members at degree granting institutions (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2019). In addition, part-time faculty members are often considered conditional employees because the university or college that employs them has zero obligation to hire them or keep them employed. Adjunct faculty members are part-time, contingent or contract employees whether they work online or in face-to-face modalities. Full-time contracts may be for an entire semester or a full year for face-to-face or traditional institutions, while part-time contracts may be for five, seven, or 12 weeks for adjunct work. According to the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE), adjunct faculty were first hired because they had practical, “real-world” experience in their content or profession, meaning they were subject matter experts. However, today, the economic needs are on the forefront of university or colleges’ needs and because part-time faculty members do not receive benefits and typically receive lower pay when compared to full-time faculty members, there are usually more part-time adjuncts working for the university or college than full-time faculty (CCCSE, 2014). Thus, it is critical that professional development models include these adjunct faculty members.

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