Disengaged Faculty and Students

A report from Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement is out. Inside Higher Ed had a lot to say about it.

“Disengaged faculty doesn’t change students. We hire part-time faculty almost exclusively under the understanding that we’re just paying them to show up for three hours in a classroom. Why is that? Is it possible to hire adjunct faculty with a different set of expectations, including that they participate in professional development and other services? What I don’t have are glib, easy answers, but the survey does raise these questions.”

Yes, it is possible to hire adjunct faculty with a different set of expectations. You still may not get what they were looking for though.

CC2 hired adjuncts at $1800/class x5 +$10,000 to be in their office for office hours ten hours a week. If they expected advising and professional development, they would need to pay more. If you pay more, why not just hire full time and get it all?

Forty-three percent of part-time students take evening classes, whereas only 12 percent of full-time students take them. The report stresses that, as a result, “these students have fewer options for certain kinds of interventions that strengthen engagement.”

“A lot of things are happening during the day for daytime students, and not much happens at night for nighttime students … like activities and orientations,” said one of the anonymous students cited in the report. “If you come to class at night, you miss out on all that.”

This is something I would like to see changed. Perhaps hiring one or two faculty full-time for night courses and have them also offer activities at night. If there were a veteran’s group at night, would more of our night veterans be able to attend?

The report seems to look at part-timers as the same as full-timers. But, in fact, they are not. Full-timers have offices. They have a secretary whose work they share. They have phones paid for by the school. They have a choice of classes and times to teach. They are paid $50k to be on campus, attend meetings, and teach and grade the same courses that I am paid $18k to teach and grade. So, yeah, for their $32K the school gets something else. At least I hope they do.

I’m more than willing to advise students for $32K a year.

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