Adjunct Employment Preference: Who Wants to Be Full-Time Faculty?

Molly Ott, Lindsey K. Dippold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Recent research suggests at least half of community college faculty who are teaching part-time would rather have a full-time appointment (Cashwell, 2009; Kramer, Gloeckner, & Jacoby, 2014). Little is known, however, about what distinguishes those voluntarily teaching part-time from those preferring a full-time faculty position. This inquiry draws from person-job fit theory to investigate adjunct faculty members’ abilities and qualifications, as well as their needs from the job itself (Edwards, 1994). Participants were 1,245 adjunct faculty teaching in 10 community colleges during the spring 2016 term. Two thirds of the participants were at least somewhat interested in becoming full-time faculty at a postsecondary institution, with 47% expressing strong, immediate interest in such a position. An ordered logistic regression model indicated that several dimensions of qualifications, job experiences, and socio-demographics predicted employment preference. Part-time faculty with higher levels of recent teaching experience in the community college setting were more likely to express a strong desire for a full-time position, as were adjuncts who utilized more job-related resources. Those who viewed the recognition and rewards given for adjunct job performance as adequate tended to be content in a part-time role. In terms of demographic characteristics, involuntarily part-time faculty were more likely to indicate economic need and self-identify as African American or Hispanic. The findings illustrate how careful attention to the distinctive backgrounds, experiences, and attitudes of part-time faculty subgroups may help college and university administrators more intentionally design policies and programs to better meet the needs of their increasingly diverse constituents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalCommunity College Journal of Research and Practice
StateAccepted/In press - Feb 19 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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