Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 4:15 PM
STRONG PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN FULL-TIME AND ADJUNCT FACULTY: A MODEL FROM THOMAS NELSON COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Strong partnerships exist among faculty within the Geology Department at Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) because of a shared vision for the student experience, educational values, and views on what leads to academic success in geoscience education – high standards of student academic responsibility and an engaging intellectual environment. Despite separation across branch campuses, Geology Faculty within this small department (1 full-time and 2-3 adjunct faculty/semester, serving >350 students/term) actively collaborate to develop materials for the traditional classroom, online courses, and field-based experiences. Faculty collaboratively develop course syllabi, yet because all instructors are independent faculty members, students appreciate the different perspectives and teaching styles, modeling the four-year college experience. Participation in field experiences is an integral part of geology courses at TNCC, which fosters a strong sense of community among faculty and students alike. The full-time/adjunct partnership continues in the field where instructors co-lead trips, which aids with logistics, and provides students multiple perspectives and the opportunity to interact with additional faculty.
Recognizing and acknowledging that adjunct faculty often want to contribute to the department, full-time faculty need first to determine the level of involvement the adjunct would like in designing the curriculum and/or participating outside of the contractual classroom teaching requirements. Including adjunct faculty in the decision-making process not only relieves some of the burden from the full-time faculty, but allows the adjunct faculty to feel better connected with the department, and the school, which in turn, is incentive for greater participation. When adjunct faculty can contribute ideas and easily communicate with full-time faculty, a much stronger working relationship emerges, allowing for greater cohesion within the department and ultimately benefiting the students.