Implementation of the Adjunct Faculty Model

K. Garth-James

American Journal of Educational Research

Implementation of the Adjunct Faculty Model

K. Garth-James

School of Business Management, Notre Dame de Namur University, California, USA

Abstract

The growing use of adjunct faculty in higher education has drawn its share of criticism. However, it is not necessarily bad to make use of the Adjunct Faculty Model (AFM) to support institutional mission and goals. This research uses content analysis to explore issues regarding how to precisely define the AFM as well as implementation and implications for faculty job satisfaction linked to student learning, which academic leadership (college deans, department chairs, directors) want to know.

Cite this article:

  • K. Garth-James. Implementation of the Adjunct Faculty Model. American Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 4, No. 8, 2016, pp 637-647. http://pubs.sciepub.com/education/4/8/9
  • Garth-James, K.. "Implementation of the Adjunct Faculty Model." American Journal of Educational Research 4.8 (2016): 637-647.
  • Garth-James, K. (2016). Implementation of the Adjunct Faculty Model. American Journal of Educational Research, 4(8), 637-647.
  • Garth-James, K.. "Implementation of the Adjunct Faculty Model." American Journal of Educational Research 4, no. 8 (2016): 637-647.

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At a glance: Figures

1. Introduction

The term “adjunct” refers to a non-tenured, full- or part-time faculty member at a postsecondary institution whose employment is limited by a contract specifying the appointment type and roles and responsibilities. But the traditional faculty model has its own critics, who argue, for example, that traditional faculty members lack the skills to administer new education technologies and e-Learning modalities [29, 34]. Critics of both models argue that power distributions among faculty in higher education are a zero sum game, in which traditional faculty (full-time, tenure-track professors, or FTTT) win, adjunct faculty members lose with lower wages for providing services offered by FTTT members. The prevalence of this argument makes it worthwhile as a topic to investigate using a Content Analysis design. Regardless of the debate in the literature representing administrators and faculty over the use of adjunct faculty versus traditional full-time tenured faculty, initiatives to expand their use are clearly underway at most public, private, and nonprofit (including religious-affiliated) liberal arts colleges and universities [20, 24]. This study is limited to exploring the literature of administrators and faculty views using the AFM; and, not meant as a detailed investigation of reasons family and students should care about using adjuncts. The assumptions are not that the AFM is bad; hopefully, the findings shared in this study for improvements of the AFM will be taken seriously. Instead, information from this research using content analysis of 35 key articles will address the specific research questions concerning the precise definition of AFM, and salient issues of job satisfaction linked to faculty unionization.

The issue of collective bargaining is linked to job satisfaction. For example, one author wrote that “frustration” permeates the AFM, which is one reason adjunct members seek collective bargaining [13]. In the literature, the topic of unions is linked to adjunct faculty job satisfaction; some full-time tenured members will also unionize, examples include The Jesuit University of San Francisco (CA) and St. Mary’s College (CA). But, is there broad support for unionization among the adjuncts as a way to mitigate frustrating circumstances of low pay and employment uncertainty? The question is addressed in this research study; but not meant as a treatise to support or oppose the topic of AFM unionization. Rather, the author aim is sharing knowledge from the literature about the desire to unionize to mitigate frustrations working as adjunct faculty. Frustration is linked to tasks, and the emphasis in the literature is about roles and responsibilities that are not always clearly delineated. Institutional leaders in higher education are concerned with tasks that make faculty disgruntled and leadership issues at the college (deans) and department (chairs, directors) level. For purposes of this study, the role of these important leaders is considered in a category that I created termed academic leadership (see Methods, Results). One reason, with emphasis in the literature, that department leaders are connected to roles and responsibilities of adjuncts pertains to the important role of instruction—approaches and methods used to facilitate faculty-student engagement, which was often linked to leadership and governance as well. Examples from the literature that associate academic leadership with adjuncts concerns normative and formative roles and responsibilities; the former relates to faculty investing in the cognitive experiences of students to meet learning outcomes. Formative responsibilities are centered on faculty evaluations and role of the department chair (or director) to help with the personal and professional development of the adjunct member. Interestingly, research does associate the formative and normative tasks to student learning success. As such, this study tried to address the role of academic leadership (college deans, department chairs/directors) and implications for the AFM members regarding formative and normative tasks. The assumption guiding this research is that adjunct faculty model implementation can be linked to job satisfaction in public, private and nonprofit liberal arts institutions.

2. Problem

The biggest problem facing academic leadership at most colleges and universities nationwide is effective use of the adjunct faculty. Institutional leaders (provosts, deans, chairs, directors) thought that making use of adjuncts could solve financial problems the result of a downturn in enrollments. Raising tuition, dramatic increasing teaching loads of full-time tenured faculty as well as reducing classes available to students have met with opposition from students, family and faculty. Therefore, hiring more adjunct or non-tenured part-time faculty members seemed reasonable. Authors wrote about problems using adjuncts [18]; however, not all research indicates that selecting adjuncts is a problem at all. The issue is effective implementation of the AFM in higher education institutions and what is useful to support institutional goals regarding student engagement, and job satisfaction for members of the AFM. The American Association of University Professors (2016) found that there has been an uptick in interest in online courses in higher education. This interest is concentrated among administrations at for-profit institutions, but it is also on the rise at public (state-operated) and private nonprofit liberal arts religious-affiliated colleges and universities.

Using adjuncts for instruction in postsecondary education is not new. In fact, Kezar’s [15, 16, 17] research regarding the changing workforce in higher education as the result of using adjuncts revealed a long history of interest in and use of part-time, non-tenure-track faculty members as “tutors” and instructors. Authors also note department-level leaders (chairs and directors) that will execute the formative tasks of consistently completing faculty observations and imposing standards and expectations, was linked to student engagement and adjunct faculty role and responsibilities. The measureable outcomes of using adjuncts in higher education have already been the subject of empirical research. Numerous books, journal publications, professional association studies, and government funded research projects have been devoted to understanding the efficacy of the Adjunct Faculty Model (AFM). The data and information found in these resources can be sorted and organized in a variety of ways to determine factors thought to correlate to effective implementation of the AFM in liberal arts colleges and universities. The problem of using the AFM includes grappling with terms such as contingent, which refers to part-time AFM members as well as “best practices” for scheduling the part-time faculty member as discussed by Jaeger and colleagues [12] that examined the unintended consequences of using adjuncts to teach anddevelop curricula in associate’s degree programs at community colleges. Additionally, authors research into the campus life and roles and responsibilities have mostly focused on the traditional faculty model using tenured full-time members as the unit of measure and excluding contingent or part-time faculty members from the equation.

This research explores the literature in terms of implementation of the AFM and relevance to job satisfaction. Of course, there was valuable research into the campus life, and roles and responsibilities of full-time tenured faculty that may not be transferred to adjuncts and relevant to job satisfaction among AFM members. Lindholm’s [20] research into the job (campus) environment and faculty satisfaction at a public institution in the University of California system revealing a comfort level and feeling respected were associated with job satisfaction, regardless of the appointment type. (part-or full- time). The extent to which academic leaders such as college deans or departmental chairs/directors are effective at addressing the needs of faculty members in general also has consequences for the level of job satisfaction among adjuncts. As the selection of the AFM takes on an increasingly greater role at universities, and in particular private nonprofit liberal arts institutions, studies about “what works” to improve implementation and satisfaction for the adjuncts have become increasingly important. This research study is primarily interested in the use of adjuncts at private nonprofit liberal arts colleges and universities that are under immense pressures to compete with larger public colleges and universities and for-profit online institutions; and, cannot rely simply on tuition-driven strategies to solve enrollment problem. Admittedly, there are different groups of liberal arts colleges as some have access to and relay on endowments, and others donations and gifts, however, most are cognizant of defraying costs of managing faculty and operating institutions by either raising tuitions and hiring adjuncts, or both. This analysis doesn’t distinguish the subgroups among the liberal arts institutions, and categorizes public and private nonprofit institutions as a group “colleges and universities” regardless of size, and revenue-generating strategies. Instead, this content analysis research differentiates public, private, nonprofit institutions based on the precise definition of the AFM discussed in the literature review.

2.1. Research Questions

Four research questions addressed in this study were:

1. What precisely is the Adjunct Faculty Model?

2. What are the perceptions of institutional leaders about using the AFM?

3. What is the level of support or opposition in relation to collective bargaining for part-time or full-time non-tenured track (FTNTT) faculty at work in higher education, specifically at private nonprofit liberal arts colleges and universities?

4. Should involvement in shared governance become a standard of job performance expectation for adjuncts? If not, who should have the role of identifying failing faculty and fixing the problem?

3. Definition

One research interests was to discover the way institutional leaders define adjunct faculty. What is meant by the term AFM? The term is defined in various journal articles, publications, and media reports on the subject of instruction and curriculum in higher educational institutions [14, 16, 21]. Professor Kezar from the University of Southern California (USC), in a study of the unbundling of faculty responsibilities, indicates that the adjunct faculty model is characterized by the following:

1. Full-time non-tenure track (FTNNT) faculty are hired to address the need for flexible professoriates to meet institutional cost-efficiency goals. They are referred to as contingent faculty, wage workers, lecturers, contract faculty, and part-time professoriates.

2. Clinical faculty within the medical and health sciences departments have over the last decade redesigned the status hierarchy and work conditions that differentiate roles and classifications of professors.

3. For-profit virtual faculty have “unbundled” the teaching roles, titles, and rankings that were considered a source of cost-inefficiency [11, 27, 30]. The focus of this model is on technology skills and the ability to deliver instruction using electronic technologies for distance learning. Virtual faculty members are expected to develop courses, evaluate students, and manage their student loads while working at other jobs. Smith [36] refers to this model as the Virtual Assembly Line Model, which has differentiated the part-time or full-time non-tenured faculty position into separate functions—instruction, curriculum design, and lending expertise to education technology (operating the learning management systems Adobe Connect, Canvas, Blackboard, Deltak, E-College, Moodle), and advising, tutoring, and mentoring.

The AFM is also defined by comparing them to the traditional faculty model with standard policy and practice of using the tenured-track ranking system. Traditional faculty members tend to have more credentials than adjunct professors—i.e. have doctorates) and meet high requirements for scholarship (publications) [21]. Authors researching the adjunct faculty topic tend to use methods that identify appointment type or identify faculty ranks [16, 30, 32]. For example, full-time tenured faculty are hired at ranks depending on teaching experience, and publications, and most have the terminal degree.

The rank-and-tenure system has benefits such as sabbaticals and life-time appointments. Members of the AFM have one rank which is adjunct status, either contingent or part-time; adjunct contracts are unlikely to mention life-time appointments [1, 2, 4]. Research about the campus life and the source of full-time tenured-track (FTTT) job satisfaction includes having access to job security, prestige, and pay [5, 16, 21]. The causes of their dissatisfaction include impediments to achieving personal ambitions of upward mobility, which is outside the contract adjunct appointment system [20]; and, anxiety as a result of a malevolent campus culture [5], both of which can result from ineffective implementation. The standard policy set by academic leaders (provosts, college deans, department chairs and directors) at public and private nonprofit liberal arts colleges including religious-affiliated institutions, is to provide full-time tenured faculty access to better wages, benefits, sabbaticals, priority selection of courses, job security, and shared governance through life-time appointments. The unequal distribution of these benefits can lead to strained relations between FTTT and adjuncts; but, the standard policy and practice is one sure way to distinguish the traditional faculty model from the AFM [22, 41]. The fact remains that the literature suggested that rank and tenure differentiate between traditional faculty and the AFM, suggesting that a fundamental and qualitative difference exists between the two faculty categories.

4. Literature

Since the 1980s an expansion of teaching professionals within the AFM framework has taken place on college and university campuses, where adjuncts have increasingly taken on tasks as teaching and advising duties; and, therefore, the normative role and responsibility of investing in students’ cognitive and emotional growth. Implementation of the AFM provides an opportunity to address some of the perceptions that hiring adjunct faculty is “wrong” [6] and has the “unintended consequence” [12] of adversely affecting student performance [15]. In the literature, identifying how administrators and faculty define AFM was necessary in regards to understanding the intentions of deans, chairs (directors). For instance, academic leaders, push by the department chairs to support program goals and meet the needs of students, involved making use of adjuncts. The discussions about the faculty role and link to student outcomes was referred to as normative goals; indeed, AFM members are involved. Implementing the AFM requires collaboration of academic leaders at the department and college level and approval of other committees (faculty senate, or top-level leaders in the office of the president). Authors often discussed implementation and links to faculty job satisfaction [4, 10, 18, 20, 22, 25, 42]. The on-campus work environment was an issue; specifically, that the part-time faculty members feeling conflicts either with colleagues or administration leaders (deans, chairs/directors) may originate with thoughtless approaches to AFM implementation. In the literature the discussions of discrimination and conflicts, which is beyond the scope of this research study, however worth mention as diversity and inclusion are priority in faculty hiring either as tenured full-time or adjunct.

Another topic assumed a result of problems with implementing the AFM concerns the conflicts among faculty in cases that reveal adjuncts outnumber traditional faculty; and roles and relationships are poorly constructed and unclear guidelines, if any, do not meet adjunct job expectations. Studies indicate that, for example, expectations of traditional faculty--attend faculty meetings and trainings on a regular basis—were the same for part-time members. In the literature, and with emphasis, the “same” expectations of full-time tenured faculty cannot be expected of part-time faculty for several reasons and not least are issues of convenience, distance to travel from one job to another, and costs [3, 13]. Studies indicate that explicit measures of job satisfaction on postsecondary campuses include factors in the work environment such as policy and procedures and processes that determine the exact role of adjuncts at the institution.

Of course, the literature mentions a variety of ways to use adjuncts and meet department leadership expectations such as teaching only, teaching and student advising, or teaching, advising and writing courses. However, if the roles and responsibilities are equal to those executed by full-time tenured-track (FTTT) faculty, and unequal benefits (tenure, benefits, pay) then the job satisfaction decreases. Additionally, the issue of shard governance and opportunity for personal/professional growth based on upward mobility (i.e., securing an FTTT position) was discussed in the literature [7]. Not meeting personal growth goals such as securing the long-sought after permanent full-time tenured-track position, can be frustrating for members of the AFM [16, 17, 20].

Some academic leaders think that adjuncts do not deserve tenure if they do not have the doctorate, or lack publications or do not meet departmental standards of teaching and student engagement. What about the attitude and commitment of AFM members compared to traditional faculty? The literature review indicates no difference in attitude and commitment among the AFM and traditional faculty. Managing time for faculty involved in curriculum development, pre-planning instruction, attending meetings and trainings, service, and, perhaps, publishing, are thought as essential roles and responsibilities in higher education. The abovementioned tasks are included as a standard of practice to evaluate faculty; admittedly without tenure security adjuncts that do not complete tasks associated with normative goals could face non-renewal of contracts. Also, adjuncts face unlikely promotional opportunities in such cases. In the research, it is unclear that AFM and FTTT have significant attitudinal differences about completing the roles and responsibilities that were classified as normative and leading to student learning and formative resulting in self-improvement [44]. In the AFM, it is essential to have “clarity of expectations” regarding adjunct participation in meetings, trainings and the traditional roles and responsibilities that are not addressed in the contract [3, 4, 16, 22]. Although beyond the scope of this study, it is worth a mention that distance learning models have an effect on the teaching model as adjustments are made to curriculum and recruiting of faculty with education technology skills is underway in postsecondary institutions. As regards the adjuncts, Moore, Dickerson and Galyen’s [23] research into distance learning models and implications for the AFM members revealed lack of skills and abilities with electronic technologies to deliver education will lead to misery and low job satisfaction. Lastly, the literature makes reference to the term shared governance which was introduced in the Supreme Court ruling, National Labor Relations Board vs. Yeshiva University (1980). The issue was limited faculty activism, based on their classification as managers, to engage in unionization efforts. The topics in this paragraph in regards to normative roles and responsibilities, attitude and commitment to department goals, and shared governance are aspects of AFM implementation which have implications for faculty job satisfaction on college and university campuses. Using Herzberg’s theory is one way to explore these issues.

4.1. Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Job Satisfaction

Behavioral scientist Frederick Herzberg (1959–2000) suggested the two-factor or hygiene theory, also referred to Herzberg’s theory, to isolate the factors influencing job satisfaction. His research points to motivational factors in the workplace such as the work itself, job recognition, and potential for promotion, and the hygiene factors, whose absence can lower motivation (e.g., reasonable pay and job security). Using Herzberg’s theory, we can analyze the importance of different factors that affect job satisfaction for developing clear guidelines and policies concerning the Adjunct Faculty Model. Moxley [24] was the first to apply Herzberg’s theory to analyze the effect of perceptions on faculty performance in higher education. The motivation factors that leading to satisfaction with the work environment include hygiene factors such as job fulfillment, growth opportunities leading to higher pay, and the ability to spend time with students are classified as motivation factors/satisfiers; and, relationships with departmental chairs/leads, policies, and faculty appointment type are the hygiene factors that are the consequence of job dissatisfaction among faculty, namely AFM members. Job satisfaction linked to administrative factors, specifically at the departmental level, is significant at private nonprofit liberal arts colleges and universities for a couple of reasons [22]. First, in the literature the emphasis on small size student learning environments has implications for the adjuncts. Typically, private nonprofit liberal arts colleges such as religious-affiliated institutions discussed in the literature, boast about improving student learning and social skills through small class size and faculty-student engagement from highly trained, qualified, and committed faculty. The religious-affiliated colleges were of interest this author because of affiliation teaching and attending good religious-affiliated institutions. Attention to the research on private nonprofit liberal arts colleges included was to understand the AFM model at colleges and universities such as Sweet Briar (VA) and Saint Mary’s (CA). In the media reports, financial woes are the major reason for decline of most liberal arts colleges and universities: “‘The small, private, tuition dependent nonprofit institutions face an uphill battle in many places,’ said Andrew P. Kelly, director of the Center on Higher Education Reform at the American Enterprise Institute” [28].

In the literature authors used surveys to uncover some factors leading to insurmountable troubles at liberal arts institution with solid reputations of providing a well-rounded educational experience to students, such as declining enrollments of traditional students (demographics shift) and poor academic preparation of incoming students. Of course, shifts in demographics, decline in enrollments and financial scarcity are concerns of public and for-profit online postsecondary institutions; but are more devastating to the modern liberal arts institutions as Seton Hall, Georgetown University (Jesuit), Saint Mary’s (California), and women’s colleges such as College of Saint Elizabeth and Mount Saint Mary’s College, with disproportionately large Hispanic student groups, [1, 22, 36, 38]. In regards to the AFM, the leadership at Mills College in California encountered demographic shifts and enrollment problems and subsequently a drop in its favorability ratings; managing low enrollments and tensions between the faculty and administration over student faculty ratios and adjunct hires led to conflicts [51]. Sometimes institutional leadership response to exigencies such as demographic shifts on the campus and hiring disproportionate numbers of adjuncts leads to workplace tensions and job dissatisfaction.

The second factor affecting career satisfaction in the AFM model is the notion of shared governance, which Herzberg’s theory treats as a hygiene factor. The concept of shared governance implies that FTTT and adjuncts are a part of management making decisions about institutional direction, operations and management. The Yeshiva (1980) is clear that the NLRB must make a determination of adjunct faculty roles regarding shared governance. Insofar as job satisfaction and relationship to adjuncts there are issues of sharing governance in regards to staffing classes, collaborating with colleagues to help students, and guiding opportunities for self-development based on faculty observations/evaluations feedback. As liberal arts colleges and universities in particular encounter a variety of exigencies and push administrations toward the AFM as one solution to meeting institutional goals (e.g., staffing courses, offsetting costs) then pragmatic strategies for creating a wholesome teaching and learning environment on campus (and online) does truly require collective problem-solving between FTTT, FNTT and academic leaders that are dedicated to sharing governance. Additionally, affecting job satisfaction is keeping students happy! Student satisfaction is prominent in the life of adjuncts acutely aware that their existence, contract renewal, is based on student evaluations.

Research literature cites among students’ reasons for wanting to attend private, nonprofit Catholic institutions is believing small class size will lead close relationships with faculty mentors. Shifts in campus student body is reflective of the demographics change in the larger society as recruitment of students are from low social economic status (SES) zip codes, immigrants, and members of various ethnic groups. Disadvantaged students’ views about liberal arts, or Catholic, education are favorable. The number of adult learners is increasing, and these non-traditional students (age 35 years and older) are predicted to comprise 41% of the student population by 2021 (NCES Report, 2012). In short, the demographic shifts on campus are emergent issues affecting faculty job satisfaction. The information from empirical research is a backdrop to grappling with the shift taking place in higher educational institutions. Herzberg’s theory of motivation and hygiene factors are one way to examine the faculty motivators of job satisfaction such as faculty teaching role and policies guiding execution of responsibilities are elements in the job environment (hygiene factors). Authors Moxley [24] and Smerek and Peterson [35] noted that implementation of the AFM requires recognizing what precisely constitutes the adjuncts, their needs and motivations. Collins [7] wrote that the challenge for Catholic liberal arts institutions is “determining a ‘best-fit’ for the student by determining an efficacious framework that reflects the strength of institutional Catholicity experience” including the appropriate use of adjuncts (2013, p. 10). Catholic colleges and universities as is the case for public and private nonprofits is to grapple with implementation issues and work with faculty, namely the adjuncts, to identify promising solutions to managing demographic shifts with missions and goals, and providing cost-efficient education that is not tuition dependent.

5. Method

The research questions were helpful to explore implementation of the adjunct faculty model in higher education. The knowledge of how the administrators and faculty define AFM, and implementation challenges will help with future research on this topic. The research method in this study is Content (or Secondary) Analysis, which uses qualitative data from texts (reports, archival studies, cases, and interviews) that the researcher arranges and uses to interpret patterns and make inferences [19]. In the 1950s, the content analysis method was used to evaluate text frequency or word counts; from the 1960s to the present, this method has evolved to examining phrases, concepts, and even anecdotes and semantic relationships. This study uses content emphasis, or frequency of phrases such as adjunct faculty, full- or part-time non-tenure track faculty (FTNTT, PTNTT), contingent adjunct faculty or lecturer in the pages of research studies published in top journals. Relational analysis was useful to identify words or phrases adjacent to or grouped with concepts that, when examined more closely. For example, in some cases references to lecturers and some full-time faculty needed to be contextualized before it became apparent that these instructors were part of an AFM. Content analysis is considered a valid research method; issues of validity and reliability were mentioned [19]. Stemler [39] at Yale identified the importance of coding the words or phrases when conducting the analyses from which inferences are drawn. The procedure helpful to meet scientific standards involved using find and search on electronic materials and manual identification of hard-copies, of key phrases related to the research questions.

The project identified 45 research studies and used scaffolding and criteria to reject blog reports and unscientific studies with bias issues. Thirty-five (35) studies were selected for analysis. Statistical software was used to facilitate the analyses. Word counts and proper coding related to Herzberg’s categories were identified. The motivational factors (or satisfiers) of “quality of work” and “opportunity for promotion/growth”—as well as the hygiene factors of “governance, policy,” “faculty appointment type,” and “relationship with leaders”—were used as reference points for coding purposes in the analyses. The value propositions regarding adjunct faculty attitudes and commitment that the study examined were overwhelmingly associated with Academic Leadership (relationships to leaders) and the type of faculty appointment, which in turn were linked to Governance. Making use of referential points helped to separate and categorize phrases (or sentences) in the analyses. Three categories of words or phrases that predominated in the research were: Governance (shared governance), Policy and Guidelines (at the departmental level), and Academic Leadership (regarding relationships at the departmental level). Overall, inferences were derived about AFM implementation and implications for governance, policies, and administration-faculty relationships associated with job satisfaction, and these issues related to the normative and formative goals of the institutions examined. Overall, the for this content analysis categories of words and phrases that indicating Herzberg’s two factors from which conclusions were drawn. Regarding the generalizability of the results, the researcher determined that the findings in this study alone are insufficient; however, they will help with future mixed methods research on this topic.

6. Results

Opinion data and coding of words and phrases about the Adjunct Faculty Model (AFM) with important. The text-based information was used to construct frequency tables about perceptions of the importance of having adjuncts in higher education and particularly at nonprofit liberal arts colleges/universities. The analyses indicated that most words and phrases about adjuncts or implementing the AFM were part-time (contingent) faculty members in comparison to full-time non-tenured faculty (FTNTT). Regarding the institutional selection of the type of adjuncts, either part-time or FTNTT, the analyses indicated the following results in Figure 1.

The articles (n=35) were reviewed using find and search and manual counts for the number of times the words “part-time” or “FTNTT” in reference to adjunct faculty appeared per page. The findings revealed that “FTNTT” appeared an average of three times per page. The word “part-time” (or relational terms) appeared more times, as shown in table below.

Table 1. Descriptive Data for Minimum and Maximum Word Count

The research question regarding what precisely is the adjunct faculty model is clearly answered in the literature. Authors suggested that “unbundling” the faculty roles and responsibilities through the use of adjuncts is one response to the failure of the traditional faculty model, in which tenured and tenure-track professors are expected to be “focused on the trilogy of teaching, research and service” [3, 15] However, despite evident interest of institutional leaders to employ adjuncts can the implementation of the AFM become more effective? Some of the concerns are summarized in these comments: “adjuncts are linked to poor student performance”; “adjuncts experience discrimination and higher rates of poverty compared to FTTT”; “[adjuncts] are primarily instructional and less qualified than FTTT.” Such comments appeared in the literature examined for this study an average of 3.67 times per page. The frequency distribution of phrases indicating the attractiveness, or positive phrases, of the AFM is shown in Figure 2.

The bell shape basically implies that the majority of higher education institutions will use the AFM with either part-time or full-time non-tenured faculty.

Support for the AFM by part-time and FTNTT faculty, particularly at liberal arts colleges, was of particular interest. Exploring the normalcy of the data for the word or phrases for the above involved the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test statistic, with 95% CI and the p-value 0.05, indicating that both distributions are not normal (FTNTT KS, 0.184; part-time KS, 0.117). The result does explain the bimodality and skewness observed in the word count scores on interest in the AFM, which is significant (p<0.05) The interest of part-time faculty in the AFM focuses on wages, teaching avocation, and opportunities for promotion or an FTTT appointment type; FTNTT members are also interested in promotions. Media reports that feature faculty, specifically part-time members, decrying unfair treatment as lecturers, wage workers, contingent faculty, and, in a few reports, as FTNTT adjuncts, are not surprising given the attention to the topic in scholarly publications and university association reports. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP), National Council on Teacher Education (NCTE), Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), as well as the US Department of Education (DOE) and National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), have source data and information regarding “equitable treatment” of adjuncts (part-time and full-time non-tenure track). Others noting the increase in part-time and FTNTT faculty include the Coalition on the Academic Workforce (CAW) and collective bargaining organizations (unions), such as the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

In this research project, fewer than half of the articles in the content analyses characterized collective bargaining as a requirement for being an adjunct. What is the level of support or opposition in relation to collective bargaining for part-time or FTNTT faculty at work in higher education, specifically at private nonprofit liberal arts colleges and universities? Figure 3 below shows the high support (dark shaded slice) by AFM members to unionize. The rest of the pie indicates those who offer little opposition (the white slice) or don’t take a position on the issue (dotted slice).

Thus, it seems that members in the AFM (part-time and FTNTT) are impressed by the idea of unionization for hygiene factors such as working conditions (access to wages, office space, inclusion in meetings, and the feedback processes) and appointment type (tenure). The National Labor Relation Board (NLRB) determines the right to unionize; consideration was invoked at liberal arts institutions such as Loyola (IL), St. Mary’s (CA), and Notre Dame de Namur (CA). One reason for seeking collective bargaining is outlined here:

The discontent among many faculty members… 20,000 adjuncts, tenure-track professors and graduate student employees have unionized at more than 70 private and public schools since the start of 2012, according to William A. Herbert, director of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions at Hunter College, CUNY. ‘One element that permeates a lot of these cases is [the idea of] respect, and how the contingent faculty are being treated…’ ([13], p. 2).

The phrases linked to governance such as “faculty appointment type” and “benefits” and policy which appeared in the content and were prevalent; each of the 35 articles averaged at least two lines on these hygiene factors. The phrases “receive little or no pay,” “may or may not have an office,” “less likely to interact with colleagues, partake in institutional governance” were counted half-dozen times in the sample articles and multiple times in media/blog reports [4, 13, 16, 25, 32]. Catholic liberal arts college faculty members are considering unionization, and some traditional tenured-track members acting out of Esprit de Dorps (i.e., solidarity with the non-tenured) in hopes of improving governance and working conditions. The lack of flexibility in higher education with respect to motivational factors (i.e., wages, diversity & inclusion, quality of work, opportunity to grow or receive promotions) may spur unionization. There are legal issues related to shared governance. Setting the standards for faculty performance is an example of shared governance. Another question this research asks is this: What should be the level of governance in setting job performance standards for adjuncts? Respect for the AFM’s overall contributions to the competitiveness of private, public, and nonprofit colleges/universities in higher education is perceived a problem. For instance, some perceptions are that the adjuncts are harmful to the goals that institutional leadership has in mind as previously discussed. However, institutions that are experiencing low enrollments and solvency ratings, the adjunct faculty considering teaching as an avocation will sacrifice market wages and job security (tenure) to provide staff and student support. Survey research used a Likert scale of 1 (low like of activity) to 5 (high like of activity) about the faculty role and responsibilities of adjuncts and their mean responses to questions about teaching which showed the following results regarding love teaching their subject: M=3.8 (SD=0.49) M= 3.13 (SD= 0.77), and M= 2.47 (SD 0.88) (Marston & Brunetti, 2005; Smerek & Peterson, 2006). Additionally, regarding factors related to opportunity to share in governance (e.g., through committee work or service) adjunct responses indicated a high positive M= 3.26 (SD= 0.79); on relationships to leaderships (supportive and honest), M= 3.26 (SD 0.79); and, faculty relationships (be with colleagues) indicated a high positive [22, 35]. Interesting, the lowest data point was job security and tenure unavailability M= 2.97 (SD=0.88); therefore, adjuncts perception of job security is related to the type of appointment and access to a tenured-track full-time position, which is a Herzberg motivational factor [22, 35].

7. Discussion and Recommendations

The findings of this study provided knowledge regarding a precise definition of the adjunct faculty model (AFM) and its implementation in post-secondary institutions. The AFM is understood by institutional leadership as connoting members that teach part-time or on a contingent basis to fulfill the goals had in mind—staff courses, advise students or a combination. What’s clear is that the part- or full-time faculty members are non-tenured-track professoriates. The American Council on Education (ACE) reported on the normative faculty tasks that affect student development, and learning such as teaching and advising which are regarded as essential faculty functions. Implementation of the AFM raises concerns at the department level abut faculty specialization and inability to educate the “whole student,” as adjuncts are more practitioner-oriented and not necessarily possess the credential requirements established and enforced by the accreditation agencies. Adjunct practitioners in the classroom have changed the traditional pedagogy with emphasis on research and scholarship, applying in-class knowledge to solve workplace problems. As indicated in the literature, using the AFM means rethinking the notion of complete scholar--triad of teaching, research, and community service as essential for students cognitive, emotional and professional development. Demographic shifts—i.e., nontraditional professionals returning to school want pragmatic solutions to real-world problems more than theory—in the classroom have implications for the AFM. It was apparent that academic leadership (deans, chairs, directors) want adjunct practitioners in the classroom to grow their programs, and sacrificing elements of the traditional faculty model (offers of tenure) is prudent to meet institutional needs. There are concerns about the “disposable faculty” (Pratt, 1997) and reconfiguring roles [30] in on-ground and virtual settings in which adjuncts teach, as well as exploitation using “tenure citizenship” centered on unbundling normative and formative responsibilities of teaching. This discussion will summarize key points from the analyses.

First, department chairs and directors want to improve leadership in the AFM as it is growing in use rather than declining. One reason is that modern colleges and universities must give students a variety of learning options that are tailored to the modern-day lifestyle. Hayes (2002) in, The Mcdonaldization of Higher Education, captured the idea of opening up, or massification, of the academy through an explosion of on-ground and online degree programs, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and distance education, which have an effect on liberal arts colleges [9]. Remember that historical accounts of using adjuncts as tutors and on a temporary contractual basis was for improved faculty-student interaction. The adjunct appointment is by acceptance of the department leaders (deans, chairs, directors), therefore meeting institutional goals involves this unit of leadership. At larger colleges and universities (assistant provosts, deans, chairs, directors) would identify and intervene in the case of low- performing members. Second, departmental academic leaders must set the performance standards and with faculty input and feedback. Realistic performance expectations and that use formative measures in the faculty observations and evaluations process should have clear criteria, e.g. 10/10 for responding to students in 48 hours, or 5/5 for attending 2/4 faculty meetings in the contract year. To help the adjunct member develop, department chairs/directors may consider establishing performance thresholds such as attaining/maintaining a minimum standard of 80% (100%) based on the faculty observation evaluation. Feedback is vitally important to the development of the adjunct and meeting program/department goals. Most adjuncts want to perform well and receive feedback on meeting and exceeding goals (or not). Creating an environment for the adjunct to feel respected and comfortable on campus was strongly endorsed by the research by AAUP, ACHE, AFT. Umbach [44] wrote:

Researchers contend that long-term employees of an organization where a large number of contingent workers are employed will feel insecure about their status in their job; thus, the psychological contract and employee trust in the organization are broken. In turn, job performance (Kraimer, Wayne, Liden, & Sparrowe, 2005) and organizational commitment (Pearce, 1993)” (p. 5).

Optimal job performance, commitment to the academic department goals by fulfilling faculty responsibilities such as attending meetings/trainings regularly, and holding office hours, can be addressed by department leaders (chairs, directors) during the faculty evaluation period. One issue is that the same expectations of tenured full-time faculty cannot be enforced in the AFM without the equal pay. Can colleges and universities get along without the AFM members; there was insufficient research data on the overall and long-lasting effect of only using full-time tenured-track faculty compare to part-time faculty.

A third point was that department leadership does need to recognize the drivers of change in higher education and expanding use of the AFM on most colleges and university campuses, specifically the private nonprofit liberal arts institutions, in order to become strategic and effective. Some drivers are:

1. The massification of higher education and introduction of the for-profit sector.

2. Fluctuations in enrollments, including shifts in demographics and increase in non-traditional students in undergraduate programs.

3. Financial scarcity, or reduction in resources including state budget cutbacks affecting public institutions as well as federal/state grant reductions and loss of “soft money” contributions to nonprofit colleges/universities.

4. Technology and competition from the private colleges/universities that are prolific in the virtual or online academic community.

5. 32% graduation for students in four years institutions; and, less than 80% completion of the masters in two years.

Recognizing these drivers of change will assist with department chairs (directors) with creative approaches such as establishing teaching standards conducive to effective job performance to interact effectively with the AFM. Clarity of adjunct tasks is sometimes overlooked; the contract doesn’t always specify roles and responsibilities and is open to change prior to the end of the agreement. The appointment-type, adjunct advisor, or instructor is a department policy matter. The adjunct appointment-type may be specified in the contract such as teaching only, and teaching and serving as chair of degree programs; and, it may change to include more responsibilities. If not clear, then negative performance consequences as the adjunct can become overwhelmed with tasks and without sufficient pay. Normative concerns about attitude, and investment in student engagement and learning are particularly relevant for adjunct faculty that want the full-time tenured-track position.

Regarding the effect of adjunct performance on student learning in a Delphi Project study at the University of California campus, concerns were about having 33% tenured-track faculty compared to 67% non-tenured-track adjuncts and effect on student success (Kezar & Maxey, 2013). FTNTT faculty were “doing the same tasks as FTTT,” including teaching, advising and scholarly activities,” however, without same pay; and they were classified as “ineligible” for tenure; in this study misclassification of FTNTT was a legal issue. In this study the count of words and phrases indicating adjunct effect on the success of student learning had 31 counts in 15 articles. It is not clear from the literature review the magnitude of a relationship of AFM members on normative aspects of commitment, and student learning compared to the traditional faculty. One author did find no significant difference in attitude, pre-planning for classroom activities, and commitment to student engagement and learning between AFM and TFM members (Umbach, 2008). Qualified adjuncts that are committed and perform same duties as FTTT, but haven’t filled to open tenured-track slot are susceptible to exploitation by the academic leadership and experience on-the-job misery. Albeit, not attaining the long-awaited tenured-track status is one source of adjunct frustration; even so, there’s a negative effect on student learning. Department leadership must recognize the importance of setting goals, clear policy for adjunct evaluations and time for feedback, which require knowledge of normative and formative ideals necessary for a positive academic environment of attitudinal, social and cognitive outcomes for students [48].

As regards the Herzberg theory and job satisfaction motivation and hygiene (environment) factors that include, but not limited to respect at work, opportunity to build relationships with colleagues and immediate supervisors and clear performance expectations and policies. Department leaders should take a look at mentoring as an faculty accountability program as well as a way to resolve issues with disengaged and low-performing adjuncts. An Onboarding Buddy Program for adjuncts is helpful to:

1. Provide classroom materials (white board pens, erasers) and demonstrate eLearning technologies used in teaching as well as reinforce the expectations and standards associated with faculty roles and responsibilities in the various instructional models (face-to-face or online).

2. Mentor the novice adjunct and interpret the academic culture of the department and college/university; also, have a conversation buddy.

3. Recognize the frequency and importance of having consistent faculty observations and student evaluations; and that these documents are the basis for taking action to enforce minimum standards and clear expectations during the feedback meeting between adjuncts and chairs (directors).

Faculty management requires clear policy guidelines, mentoring accountability programs and feedback on a regular basis for adjuncts to meet performance expectations of the departmental leadership. In the introduction, the author stated that the research did not explore other stakeholder groups perceptions of the AFM and effect on student engagement and learning success. Evidence in the media and instructor blogs reveals a dedication to teaching student despite factors leading to job dissatisfaction, namely non-tenure, job security through multi-year contracts, and pay. The work environment needs attention and indicated in The Misery of Adjunct Professors Keeps Higher Education Booming [26]. The conditions or environment of the non-tenured part- and full-time faculty was identified in relation to academic leadership and institutional governance. For instance, adjuncts that provide input, and receive consistent feedback through performance evaluations are likely to meet institutional expectations [42, 44, 48].

Fourth, is the issue of unionization which is preferred as a way to negotiate desired working conditions and benefits. The author’s experience working as an adjunct and studying as a student at nonprofit religious-affiliated (Catholic) liberal arts colleges and declarations of equality and fairness issues in the media were hard to ignore. Since the Supreme Court ruling in National Labor Relations Board vs. Yeshiva University (1980), seemingly even more AFM members are opting for collective bargaining; factors of disharmony and dissatisfaction expressed by faculty at more than 300 colleges and university resulted in on-campus unions. Lastly, should adjunct faculty (part-time, FTNTT) become a solution to struggling institutions? Despite the controversy in the literature regard the MOOCs, and massification of higher education, according to the research, adjuncts are working at struggling institutions as Mills College (CA). The AAUP reported that workforce goals must be met in higher education institutions; and, regional accrediting agencies seem to agree in the need for standards of good practice making use of AFM members. The struggling Mills College (CA) as described by Moody’s was having poor performance-problems with revenue, tuition and student enrollments. The negative impressions of the AFM as a disruptive force of faculty cohesion among tenured and non-tenured members was thought to help the proverbial ship sink. There is no disputing the fact that the rapidly changing educational environment and uncertainty means that Mills and other liberal arts colleges cannot rely on tuition only; and considering labor cost-efficiency strategies such as implementing the AFM is prudent. Adjuncts have helped struggling institutions by introducing pragmatic solutions that work to management uncertainty based on practice into the academic setting.

8. Conclusion

The drivers of change in higher education discussed in the literature are perceived to have an effect on the governance, and academic leadership (provosts, deans, department chairs, directors) in public and private nonprofit liberal arts colleges and universities with respect to implementation of the AFM. Factors in the AFM that lead to job dissatisfaction are recognized using the Herzberg's theory of motivation and hygiene (job context) factors. Sharing governance, meaning, distributing responsibilities for teaching and advising more equitably among all faculty; including online instruction as well as marketable wages and benefits, is only fair. One salient issue related to student engagement and learning is the amount of time faculty members devote to them. Formative assessments—faculty observations or evaluations of instructional performance—suggest that adjuncts teaching in degree programs tend to have similar attitudes, behaviors, and motivations toward student learning as traditional faculty, and also set aside the same amount of time for quality interactions with students. The AFM members in nonprofit liberal arts colleges/universities including the religious-affiliated institutions on the job satisfaction dimensions of benefits and location (distance to and from work if on-ground), were offset by levels of responsibility and contributing to the internal campus and external community [22, 24]. Are faculty behaviors and attitudes reflective of the characteristics of the college/university? The National Science Foundation (NSF) data about faculty job satisfaction and emphasis on governance and administration-faculty relationships [33], noted that adjuncts are a reflection of institutional culture related to faculty composition, compensation, and leadership and institutional governance.

Acknowledgement

This content analysis study was supported by a research grant from the Notre Dame de Namur University, that often helps us adjunct faculty with research interests on topics related to their mission and goals. Knowledge from this study will be used in a future quantitative study on the topic.

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