GREATER THAN THE SUM OF THE PARTS: THE FULL-TIME/ADJUNCT TWO-YEAR-COLLEGE FACULTY TEAM
Many variables affect the partnership between full time and adjunct faculty at 2YC, and each institution has its own unique situation. However, some simple practices and guidelines can facilitate the growth of a strong, mutually supportive relationship. We offer some practical suggestions that we have developed at Blinn College.
Our approach to building a successful partnership between fulltime and adjunct/part-time faculty at Blinn begins in the hiring process for full-time instructors; at this time our departmental philosophy of support and mentoring our part-time faculty is made clear.
As each semester begins, mentors are assigned to new part-time faculty, and guidance through a department checklist of academic and institutional activities takes place. Instructional resources and other educational materials are shared on a departmental server.
Adjunct/part-time instructors are welcome to add their input in all departmental decisions (e.g., textbook selection and class scheduling) and expenditures (teaching materials and supplies). They are welcome at all out departmental meetings and discussions. Our college also makes professional development funds available for part-time faculty.
Typical geoscience enrollment at our campus is over 500 students in more than 20 sections. Efficient organization and curation of teaching materials for three courses (Physical Geology, Historical Geology, and Oceanography) also demands that we follow a somewhat common schedule of lab activities. In presenting course material, we strive to balance the instructor’s academic freedom with consistency of student experience between sections.
As our group grows, maintaining a balance between innovation and consistency has become an ongoing task. We repeatedly revisit this issue during departmental meetings. The key to this balancing act is a lot of regular communication among our group and keeping alive the inquisitive spirit inside each of us.