Community Colleges Can Foster Student Success by Supporting Their Adjuncts

When community colleges fail to support the part-time faculty members who teach more than half of the classes offered at such institutions, they are fostering a culture that creates a barrier to student success, according to a new report.

Part-time faculty members, themselves marginalized on campuses, are more likely to teach struggling students, says the report, which was produced by the Center for Community College Student Engagement, at the University of Texas at Austin. And that dynamic is most pronounced in developmental (or remedial) courses, where more than three-quarters of faculty members are adjuncts.

“Too often, students’ education experiences are contingent on the employment status of the faculty members they happen to encounter,” reads the report, “Contingent Commitments: Bringing Part-Time Faculty Into Focus.” It is being released here today during the American Association of Community Colleges’ annual convention.

One of the report’s main points—that faculty working conditions equal student learning conditions—is consistent with the message laid out in other recent examinations of the professional lives of adjuncts, including the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success and “Who Is Professor ‘Staff’?,” by the Center for the Future of Higher Education and New Faculty Majority. <Read more.>

Via Audrey Williams June, The Chronicle of Higher Education.