SELF-PERCEPTIONS OF ADJUNCT FACULTY ABOUT THEIR ROLES AT A SELECT COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM
Byers, Valerie Tharp
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The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was twofold (a) to understand better adjunct faculty instructors’ self-perceived roles within their positions at a select community college system and (b) study to understand better the emphasis that these adjunct faculty members placed on different aspects of these roles in terms of their levels of performance and effectiveness. An additional purpose was to build on the qualitative body of research for understanding the roles and experiences of adjunct faculty members in community college systems. This study was conducted using Harré & van Langenhove’s (1999) positioning theory, Holmes’s (2013) claim-affirmation model of modalities of emergent identity, and Leech and Onwuegbuzie‘s (2010) 13-step process for qualitative research. Following the completion of 12 interviews with adjunct faculty members at the select community college system, data was analyzed through multiple methods (i.e., constant comparison analysis, classical content analysis, correspondence analysis, nonverbal behavior analysis). Seven themes emerged from the initial qualitative analyses: background experiences, motivation and rationale, position description, strengths of adjuncts, challenges experienced by adjuncts, culture of the institution, overall cares and concerns. Further, five meta-themes emerged from the additional analyses: employment fatigue, concern and care for student growth, providing a service, appreciation of position, and career-enders. It was hoped that findings from this study would help administrators of community college systems to understand better the experiences and needs of the different categories of adjunct faculty so as to better assist these populations in attaining success. Additionally, it was hoped that findings would strengthen the knowledge base of the use of adjunct faculty in the community college setting. Future areas of research to explore in this topic are also contemplated.
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