Moving Mountains to Support Online Adjuncts
Concurrent Session 8
Learn how the Raymond A. School of Business at William & Mary is combining research-based best practices with innovative strategies to support, develop, engage, and retain high-quality online adjuncts in their growing portfolio of online programs.
As postsecondary institutions continue to increase online course offerings, the demand for qualified faculty to facilitate online courses also increases. Due to workload and other academic responsibilities, the supply of full-time faculty available to teach online is smaller than the demand for online courses. To meet this demand, postsecondary institutions are turning to adjunct faculty to facilitate online courses.
Adjunct faculty make-up a large portion of the total professoriate, but the nature of their part-time positions exclude them from a number of institutional benefits and support provided to full-time faculty. While many adjuncts are attracted to the flexibility and autonomy of part-time teaching, they also experience feelings of disengagement from the institutions they serve. They are also aware of disadvantages such as lack of advancement and job security.
Online adjuncts face similar issues as adjuncts who teach on-campus; however, the physical distance between online adjuncts and their institution, colleagues, and students creates a new set of challenges. Research on the challenges specific to online adjuncts is growing, but less is known about how to help online adjuncts overcome challenges unique to the online environment.
The rapidly increasing demand for online courses makes it even more difficult to retain high-quality online adjuncts, especially if they know they will receive more support at another institution. Without committed, high-quality online adjuncts, educational quality decreases and student learning suffers, putting the institution’s reputation at risk. To attract and retain high-quality online adjuncts, post-secondary institutions must be aware of the challenges online adjuncts experience and best practices for supporting them.
In this session, participants will learn how the Raymond A. School of Business at William & Mary is combining research-based best practices with innovative strategies to support, develop, engage, and retain high-quality online adjuncts in their growing portfolio of online programs.
During the first 30 minutes of the session, Ali Blankinship, the Director of Instructional Affairs for the Center for Online Programs, will describe:
- The structure of online programs at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary;
- Her role and the process she underwent to identify the specific needs of the online adjunct faculty at the school of business;
- The innovative programs she and her colleagues developed to support, develop, engage, and retain online adjuncts at the school of business;
- A summary of the research-based best practices that guided Ali and her colleagues; and
- The ways the school of business will measure the success of this initiative.
As Ali presents, participants will be asked survey questions through PollEverywhere about what they are currently doing at their institutions to support, develop, engage, and retain online adjuncts. There will also be a backchannel so participants can ask questions that will be addressed before the 5-minute reflection period.
Guiding question for the 5-minute reflection period:
- What is one thing you could implement in the next 1-3 months at your institution that would better support, develop, and/or engage your online adjuncts, ultimately leading to retention?
During the 10-minute discussion, participants will share their idea(s) from the 5-minute reflection in small groups. They will also be encouraged to tweet their ideas using the hashtags: #OLCInnovate #SupportOnlineAdjuncts
All presentation materials will be shared with conference attendees and posted to the conference website.