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Understanding the Needs of Part-Time Faculty at Six Community Colleges

By: Susan Bickerstaff & Octaviano Chavarín
Understanding the Needs of Part-Time Faculty at Six Community Colleges

While community colleges in many states have embarked on whole-institution reform to impact multiple dimensions of the student experience, relatively little attention has focused on the working conditions of adjunct faculty, who account for about two thirds of all instructional faculty at public two-year colleges. Engaging Adjunct Faculty in the Student Success Movement, a project launched in 2016 by Achieving the Dream (ATD), acknowledges the critical role that part-time faculty play not only in supporting student learning but also in shaping students’ perceptions and experiences at college.

Six ATD leader colleges were selected through a competitive process to receive funds and technical assistance to develop and pilot scalable strategies to engage and support some of their part-time faculty. Using interview, focus group, and survey data, this brief explores the experiences of part-time faculty at these colleges. It also describes several categories of supports offered to adjuncts through this pilot project and draws connections between these supports and part-time faculty needs as identified in the analysis.