Adjunct faculty integration in community colleges : a case study
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This investigation was an action research design--Action research may be traced to Kurt Lewin’s 1947 research method and extends the interpretivist paradigm, setting forth "the idea of studying things through changing them and seeing the effect." (Sanford, 1981 quoted in Merriam, 1995). Edison Community College (Edison), located in Southwest Florida, provided the setting that was investigated and identified practical systematic linkages for use by adjunct faculty supervisors and administrators in American community colleges. (The term community college will be used in this writing to represent public post-secondary learning institutions that serve students’ needs for transfer, career, and vocational preparation.) In stage one of this investigation, the researcher identified a primary communication team to participate in the research design. The team, identified as an Adjunct Faculty Development Team (AFDT) was composed of college personnel that impacted directly or indirectly upon the hiring, supervision, and delivery of vital communications to Edison adjunct faculty. (Adjunct faculty, when used in this writing, will be a descriptor for faculty who are employed for no more than 20 hours weekly at any one institution. Additionally, this term does not include any student assistants or graduate students.) The researcher was included as a participant in this design to act as a facilitator, for an inclusive model in this research study. In stage two, additional community colleges’ documentation provided the researcher was included in the on-going dialogue processes from stage one. Targets for success were identified, a systematic approach for information dissemination form was produced, and a valueweighted form was designed. Procedures and resources were categorically designated as either essential or discretionary functions designed to impact adjunct faculty integration at Edison. The new strategies revealed as a result of this action research process serve to provide stronger linkages between the administrators and supervisors of adjunct faculty as well as improved inclusion processes for the improvement of the adjunct faculty involvement in the organization. The study concludes with a discussion of the implications for organizational development and recommendations that members of the AFDT contributed for utilization in the system-wide organization practices. Limitations of the research are included, and suggestions for future research are indicated.