The Majority-Minority: A Qualitative Study Exploring Part-Time Community College Faculty Members' Socialization And Job Satisfaction
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DepartmentCommunity College Leadership Program
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This study investigated part-time community college faculty members' socialization and job satisfaction. Notwithstanding the fact that part-time faculty members make up the majority of faculty in community colleges, and that the number of part-time faculty members is likely to increase, their inclusion, leadership roles, and resources allocated by the college do not always lead to instructional success (Coalition on the Academic Workforce [CAW], 2012; Gappa, Austin, & Trice, 2007; U.S. Department of Education, 2012). Because of the steady growth and increased usage of part-time or adjunct faculty, there seems to be a need to focus on how these faculty members are socialized into the culture of the institution and to determine how these faculty members rate their own job satisfaction. A qualitative research approach and case study design was chosen to explore the experiences of 12 part-time faculty members employed at a single mid-Atlantic urban community college in the United States. Rosch and Reich's (1996) Model of Enculturation and Herzberg's (1966) Two-Factor Theory of Job Satisfaction provided the conceptual framework for this study. The following research questions guided this study: How do part-time faculty members explain their socialization experiences? How do part-time faculty members describe their job satisfaction? Conclusions reached in this study were that socialization of part-time faculty members is essentially nonexistent; part-time faculty members are skeptical about whether there is an authentic organizational commitment, which could give them a voice in conversations about improving their experiences and working conditions. The following recommendations are made to improve policy and practice: (a) develop an orientation program for part-time faculty members, (b) develop a strong infrastructure for professional development of part-time faculty members, (c) assess and evaluate compensation and benefits of part-time faculty member, (d) establish multiyear employment contacts with part-time faculty members, (e) conduct annual climate surveys to measure the job satisfaction of part-time faculty members, (f) develop clear institutional policies and procedures related to the integration and socialization of part-time faculty members, (g) establish a mentoring program for part-time faculty members, and (h) designate a cabinet-level position dedicated solely to the orientation and integration of part-time faculty members.