Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A multiple case study discovering part-time faculties' perceptions of their professional needs, working conditions, social network, and job satisfaction at three community colleges
by Millner-Harlee, Tanya, Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2010, 328; 3412904
Abstract (Summary)

This study employed a multiple case study design to evaluate the perspectives of part-time faculties at three community colleges in the Northeast. The purpose of this study was to discover how needs, working conditions, and social networks influence the part-time faculties' job satisfaction. Maslow (1954), Bourdieu (1986), and Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman (1959) and Herzberg (1966) provided the theoretical framework for discovering the perceptions of community college part-time faculties regarding their job satisfaction.

The three central questions that guided the study were: (1) How do part-time faculty members describe their professional needs and working conditions at the community college? (2) How do part-time faculty members describe their social network at the community college? (3) How do part-time faculty members describe their job satisfaction at the community college and what is its relationship to their professional needs, working conditions, and access to social networks?

The key conclusions drawn from the study showed part-time faculties' working conditions were less than optimal and their needs often went unmet. In addition, many of the faculty explained that they often felt "rootless" in their experiences at the community college. Yet, despite their experiences, almost all felt highly satisfied with their work largely because of their interactions with students, which led to greater commitment to the college.

Moreover, the three major findings across the cases suggested first, that while the part-time faculties described their working conditions as frustrating, they expressed that they were still highly satisfied. Second, in alignment with Herzberg et al. (1959), the findings revealed the work itself was a greater factor for job satisfaction than any of the extrinsic factors that might cause dissatisfaction. Third, access to social network opportunities was tied to the participants‘ satisfaction in accordance with Bourdieu‘s theory regarding the importance of social networks for status attainment and job mobility. Ultimately, these findings suggested that while the uproar over the inexcusable working conditions part-time faculty often find themselves in is justified, it is not cause to accuse the part-time faculty of being party to bringing about the demise of the professoriate or the quality of teaching in higher education.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kim, Mikyong M.
Commitee: Bridges, Brian, Brown, Walter
School: The George Washington University
Department: Higher Education Administration
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 71/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: School administration, Higher education
Keywords: Community colleges, Job satisfaction, Part-time faculty, Professional needs, Social network, Working conditions
Publication Number: 3412904
ISBN: 9781124124667
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