Relationships Between Individual and Organizational Factors and the Use of Structured Group Learning Experiences by Part-Time Faculty Within the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentAdvanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy
ProgramDoctor of Education
Community colleges rely heavily on part-time faculty members (Cohen & Brawer, 2008). Almost 70% of community college faculty teach part-time. Empirical evidence suggests that community college student success could decline as the employment of part-time faculty increases. In the face of clear evidence that collaborative interactions are vital to student engagement and success, the Community College Center for Student Engagement (2014a) found that few part-time and full-time faculty members frequently use structured group learning experiences (SGLE) in their teaching. SGLE are cohorts of first-year students who take classes together. Students who participate in SGLE are more likely to successfully complete developmental courses and have higher levels of persistence than students who do not participate in SGLE (Center for Community College Engagement, 2014b). The purpose of this research is to analyze the survey data from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System to identify and explore individual and organizational factors that may relate to the use of SGLE among part-time faculty members. Identifying these factors presents Kentucky administrators opportunities to increase adoption of SGLE among part-time faculties. The study employed Blackburn and Lawrence’s (1995) theoretical framework from Faculty at Work. The researcher used a quantitative, ex post facto research design. Statistical analyses of pre-existing data from 968 Kentucky part-time faculty who responded to the Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement during 2011-2016 was completed. The major findings of this study suggest that part-time faculty who taught an SGLE were more likely to plan at least one SGLE than those who did not teach an SGLE. In addition, part-time faculty who taught an SGLE were more likely to participate on a college work team than those who did not teach an SGLE. Given the exploratory nature of the ex post facto research design, these findings are tentative and could provide a basis for future empirical research. Based on these findings, the researcher offered the following recommendations to improve practice in the Kentucky System: inventory and assess college efforts to support part-time faculty, highlight and scale a promising college practice for adoption, and support and incentivize grassroots initiatives involving part-time faculty members.