Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Higher Education Administration: Ed.D.
Educational Administration and Higher Education
School of Education
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
adjunct faculty, identity, photo elicitation, metaphor, contingent faculty, part-time faculty
Adjunct faculty are an integral part of the higher education structure, allowing community college leadership to meet the instructional and financial needs on their campuses. Community colleges rely heavily on adjunct faculty to meet the changing needs of student enrollment at a low cost, with no long-term commitment to future employment. Research paying attention to the increased utilization of adjunct faculty in the community college setting has focused on topics including job satisfaction, student outcomes, and studies comparing part-time faculty and full-time faculty in advancement opportunities. This study was conducted to provide an opportunity for adjunct faculty members in the community college setting to provide insight into their identity.
Using the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET) to guide the interview process, this qualitative study of eight temporary part-time faculty in the Liberal Arts and Sciences Department at one Minnesota community college focused on the language used to describe identity. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the aspects contributing to the development of academic identity in adjunct faculty. By exploring language used during the interview, constructs of identity were identified and defined, providing an understanding of the components that represent the overall identity of the adjunct faculty member. These themes of identity were analyzed along with the details shared during the interview to establish construct linkages and linkage changes, which indicate how the various constructs of identity impact each other. Symbolic interactionism and Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT) served as the conceptual frameworks for this study.
Results of this study revealed four themes of identity representing the adjunct faculty experience: work assignment, student success, love for learning and teaching, and colleague interactions. These themes are made up of 16 different constructs, or themes representing identity. The majority of constructs representing identity are positive constructs, reinforcing the love of teaching. The constructs of the unpredictable work schedule and varying income connected to the adjunct faculty role were reported as negative contributors participants indicated an overall positive response to the role. In addition to the themes of identity that surfaced through the ZMET, the desire to teach in their field and the goal to work with students were selected as the top two motivational factors for the decision to be an adjunct faculty member. This insight into the identity of the adjunct faculty member will be used to present suggestions for administrators who support them.
Ryan, Melissa, "The Metaphors of Identity Among Adjunct Faculty" (2020). Culminating Projects in Higher Education Administration. 43.