A Field Study: The Business Of Engaging Higher Education Adjunct Faculty

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Tom Henkel
Gordon Haley


Adjunct Instructor, Work Engagement, Universities, Colleges, Business


Competition among higher educational institutions has increased especially among public and private institutions; this is exacerbated by demographic changes whereby the number of high school graduates continues to decrease. Additionally, colleges and universities face daunting competition challenges retaining students; therefore, they are reexamining their long-established business models. As a result, to offset costs, higher education institutions continue to increase the hiring of adjunct faculty. Currently, adjunct instructors account for more than half of all faculty appointments and that number is expected to increase. To amplify the situation, college and university accreditation organizations are requiring student retention and faculty work engagement as part of the effectiveness and accreditation process. Customarily, compared to full-time faculty, adjunct faculty are less engaged with their work as effective coaches and mentors for students outside the classroom. Thus, a quantitative study using the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale questionnaire sought adjunct faculty feedback in terms of engagement with their work for academic and student success and how the results could be used to increase this engagement.


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