Community college adjunct policies and practices: Incumbents' perspectives and congruence with learning organization tenets

Johanna A Springer, Florida International University


The primary research question was: What is the nature and degree of alignment between the tenets of learning organizations and the policies and practices of a community college concerning adjunct instructors? I investigated the employment experiences of 8 adjunct instructors at a large community college in the Southeastern U.S. to (a) describe and explain the perspectives of the adjuncts, (b) describe and explain my own adjunct employment experience at the same college, (c) determine how the adjunct policies and practices collectively encountered were congruent with or at variance with the tenets of learning organizations, and (d) to use this framework to support recommendations that may help the college achieve more favorable alignment with these tenets. Data on perceived adjunct policies and practices were reduced into 11 categories and, using matrices, were compared with 5 major categories of learning organization tenets. The 5 categories of tenets were: (a) inputs, (b) information flow/communication, (c) employee inclusion/value, (d) teamwork, and (e) facilitation of change. The 11 categories of the college's policies and practices were (a) becoming an adjunct, (b) full-time employment aspirations, (c) salary, (d) benefits, (e) job security and predictability, (f) job satisfaction, (g) respect, (h) support services, (i) professional development, (j) institutional inclusion, and (k) future role of adjuncts. The reflective journal component relied on a 5-year (1995–2000) personal and professional journal maintained by me during employment with the same college as the participants. Findings indicate that the college's adjunct policies and practices were most incongruent with 25 of the 70 learning organization tenets. These incongruencies spanned the 5 categories, although most occurred in the Employee/Inclusion/Value category. Adjunct instructors wanted inclusion, respect, value, trust, and empowerment in decision making processes that affect adjunct policies and practices of the college, but did not perceive this to be a part of the present situation.

Subject Area

Community colleges

Recommended Citation

Springer, Johanna A, "Community college adjunct policies and practices: Incumbents' perspectives and congruence with learning organization tenets" (2004). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3130421.