The Part-Time Satisfaction Gap

by E Wayne Ross on April 16, 2009

Inside Higher Ed: The Part-Time Satisfaction Gap

SAN DIEGO — If community colleges want to make an impact on the job satisfaction of adjuncts, it’s time to focus on benefits. That was one conclusion of a study of the job satisfaction of part-time faculty members at two-year institutions, presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association.

The study — by Paul D. Umbach of North Carolina State University and Ryan Wells of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst — was based on a national database of the attitudes of more than 5,700 community college faculty members at nearly 300 institutions. Umbach said it was important to examine adjunct job satisfaction because so many community colleges depend on part timers to teach a large share of courses, and because adjuncts are so diverse. With some part timers not relying on their teaching jobs economically, but others totally relying on colleges as employers, colleges need a better sense of just what adjuncts think about their jobs, Umbach said.