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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Adjunct Voices: The Experiences of Part-Time Adjunct Faculty as They Seek to Serve Their Part-Time, Non-traditional Students
by Doyle, Elizabeth A., Ed.D., Fielding Graduate University, 2020, 188; 27997119
Abstract (Summary)

This phenomenological study explores lived experiences of part-time adjunct faculty serving part-time, non-traditional students. The participants taught at community colleges for multiple years and relied somewhat or entirely on their income as adjuncts to support themselves financially. The study captures the essence of their experiences as adjuncts and I view them through the lens of self-determination theory, with emphasis on fulfillment of the basic psychological needs of autonomy, relatedness, and competence. The study adds to the literature that applies self-determination theory to adjuncts by using a phenomenological approach that reveals a more complex story of day-to-day experiences. It also connects many of these experiences to the needs of part-time, non-traditional students, a connection that is absent in the literature. Several themes resulted from the data analysis showing a connection between the life histories of these adjuncts and those of their part-time, non-traditional students, revealing a unique perspective on the challenges and joys of teaching these students. They shed a new light on the effects of the two-tier faculty system in higher education. I found that adjunct work environments tend to thwart their basic psychological needs of autonomy, relatedness, and competence. I also learned a more nuanced story about how some adjuncts manage to cope with their positions in positive ways. I conclude with recommendations for how administrators, full-time faculty, and adjunct faculty can take action to alleviate challenges to adjunct faculty. I call for further research to improve structural issues such as hiring practices and teaching practices for part-time, non-traditional students.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jacobs, Don Trent
Commitee: Paloff, Rena M., Lynam, Abigail, Wallis, Sarah, Ott, Molly
School: Fielding Graduate University
Department: School for Leadership Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 81/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Higher education, Higher Education Administration
Keywords: Adjunct faculty, Adult learners, Contingent faculty, Non-tenure track faculty, Nontraditional students, Self-determination theory
Publication Number: 27997119
ISBN: 9798641427744
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