An Inclusive Action Plan for Academic Leaders and Instructional Support Staff

Created By: Every Learner Everywhere in partnership with Online Learning Consortium (OLC) & WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) 

Supporting Online Adjunct Faculty Across Institutional Roles: An Inclusive Action Plan for Academic Leaders and Instructional Support Staff provides context and actionable strategies to challenges that are experienced in institutions of higher education.

What can I expect from this playbook?

This playbook aims to extend the work of Online Adjunct Faculty: A Survey of Institutional Policies and Practices by providing actionable strategies to better support online adjunct faculty from various roles across the institution. Inspired by the data collected in the initial study’s surveys and interviews, this playbook will provide six actionable strategies and different implementation tips for the intended audience of this playbook. These actionable strategies include:

  • Establishing clear expectations for online teaching; 
  • Developing effective onboarding and training experiences; 
  • Creating opportunities for connection and community; 
  • Using data to tailor training and connective experiences;
  • Incentivizing key professional development areas; and 
  • Recognizing exemplary adjunct faculty.

Who is the intended audience of this playbook? 

This playbook is designed to serve as a resource for instructional support staff (e.g., instructional designers, faculty developers, technology trainers, directors of centers for teaching and learning), academic leaders (e.g., department chairs, program coordinators, deans), and executive leaders (e.g., provosts, chancellors, presidents) across institutional types as they analyze, develop, and enhance their online adjunct faculty support systems. This playbook also includes a checklist for adjunct faculty to prepare, design, and facilitate courses (Note: this resource is also fully adaptable for use by individuals who onboard and train adjunct faculty).

Why Online Adjunct Faculty?

We use the term online adjunct faculty throughout the playbook to refer to any non-tenure track faculty that includes full and part-time faculty, instructors, lecturers, and any other professionals delivering instruction at colleges and universities. We intentionally use faculty to signify their expertise, credentials, and importance to the profession.


The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is a collaborative community of education leaders and innovators dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences designed to reach and engage the modern learner — anyone, anywhere, anytime. OLC inspires innovation and quality through an extensive set of resources, including best-practice publications, quality benchmarking, leading-edge instruction, community-driven conferences, practitioner-based and empirical research, and expert guidance. The growing OLC community includes faculty members, administrators, trainers, instructional designers, and other learning professionals, as well as educational institutions, professional societies, and corporate enterprises. Learn more at

WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) is the leader in the practice, policy, & advocacy of digital learning in higher education. WCET is a member-driven non-profit which brings together colleges, universities, higher education organizations, and companies to collectively improve the quality and reach of technology-enhanced learning programs. Learn more at

Every Learner Everywhere is a network of twelve partner organizations with expertise in evaluating, implementing, scaling, and measuring the efficacy of education technologies, curriculum and course design strategies, teaching practices, and support services that personalize instruction for students in blended and online learning environments. Our mission is to help institutions use new technology to innovate teaching and learning, with the ultimate goal of improving learning outcomes for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students, poverty-affected students, and first-generation students. Our collaborative work aims to advance equity in higher education centers on the transformation of postsecondary teaching and learning. We build capacity in colleges and universities to improve student outcomes with digital learning through direct technical assistance, timely resources and toolkits, and ongoing analysis of institution practices and market trends. For more information about Every Learner Everywhere and its collaborative approach to equitize higher education through digital learning, visit

Webinar – Supporting Adjunct Faculty: Research-Based Recommendations

View the webinar recording

Complimentary Report: Online Adjunct Faculty Survey Results Released from WCET, OLC, and Every Learner Everywhere

View the results

Complementary Videos

Given their vast experience supporting online adjunct faculty at Carroll Community CollegeAndrea Gravelle, Director of Online Learning and Media, and Suzi Mazzenga, Instructional Designer, created this video playlist to complement the Online Adjunct Faculty Playbook. They speak to the following topics that are aligned with the Playbook’s findings:

  1. Create Opportunities for Connection & Community
  2. Use Data to Tailor Training & Connective Experiences
  3. Incentivize Key Professional Development Areas
  4. Recognize Exemplary Online Adjunct Faculty
  5. Promote Student success

Blog Post 

Actionable Steps to Support Online Adjunct Faculty: Findings from New Playbook for Academic Leaders.

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