Understanding Part-Time Faculty Job Satisfaction: A Case Study at an Alabama Community College
MetadataShow full item record
Type of WorkText
DepartmentCommunity College Leadership Program
RightsThis item is made available by Morgan State University for personal, educational, and research purposes in accordance with Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Other uses may require permission from the copyright owner.
American community colleges are hiring contractual, part-time faculty members to meet the instructional and financial needs on their campuses. The colleges rely heavily on part-time employees to satisfy changing course and schedule needs. Contractual employees also allow colleges to satisfy instructional needs without making long-term, possibly unsustainable financial commitments. Researchers have conducted job satisfaction studies involving this population. Even with consistent statements of dissatisfaction, part-time faculty comprise more than 50 percent of the faculty population and remain at their respective colleges an average of six years. Using individual semi-structured interviews, college orientation and training material, this qualitative case study of 20 part-time humanities and social science instructors at one Alabama community college investigated the job satisfaction of the participants. The purpose was to understand why they maintained their contractual employment status with the college. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory served as the conceptual framework for this study. The interview questions, resulting response themes, and additional data aligned with Maslow’s theory. Results of this study revealed five themes regarding participants’ perceptions of their job satisfaction and reasons they remained employed at the college. The themes were convenience, enjoyment, open communication, opportunity, and support. Enjoyment and opportunity were the primary reasons participants continued to teach at the college. Individuals noted that opportunities for professional development, accessibility to orientation and training, the flexibility of course scheduling, and office space enhanced the employment experience.