Episode 19

"Virtual Adjuncts"

Duration 00:17:04      Recorded on April 04, 2007

In this episode, Susan and Dan focus on adjunct faculty. Since adjuncts deliver about 60 percent of all college instruction, there are a considerable number of them who, like Susan, are teaching online.

Show Notes:

In this episode we look at the role of the college professor in higher education and specifically adjunct faculty.

Adjunct faculty are a formidable number - almost 60% of college instruction is done by adjuncts so it stands to reason that means there are a considerable number of us working online (Susan is one of them).

Susan reads a quote from John Sexton, president of NYU, which was printed in Managing Virtual Adjunct Faculty: Applying the Seven Principles of Good Practice.

Adjuncts bring real world experience that enriches institutions and the students' learning experiences. They bring real life stories of putting theory into practice and demonstrating leadership and discernment.

Susan pulls out one of the themes in the paper (Good practice communicates high expectations) and this leads to a discussion of what the bare minimum should be in training online faculty. How to provide professional development and support for part-time faculty has been a question many institutions have examined. Dan introduces a successful program from Valencia Community College, led by Daryl Peterson. At first Valencia started to provide online professional development for adjunct faculty through one course: Teaching in the Community College. They have since developed a comprehensive 60 hour program that certifies adjuncts and rewards them with a different title and pay. Daryl Peterson, Director, ScenariosOnline (a business unit of Valencia Community College) can be reached at dpeterson8@valenciacc.edu.

This leads to a discussion of the importance of offering the same services and quality of professional development to adjuncts. Susan offers several ideas gleaned from resources she found.

Pay! What are adjuncts paid? This was a short answer. Not much to say about being underpaid.The difficulty of participating in professional development when adjunct: managing work, family and multiple locations. Susan promotes online opportunities. A couple good programs, by the way, that examine online teaching and learning: MVCR and UW-Stout's program. (And yes, Susan is affiliated with both these places.) Class loads: Seems more institutions are getting the clue that packing online courses with virtual bodies is not a key to quality.

Pay (again): The workforce can be from all over the world.

Office hours: Susan holds them online and explains how she approaches the time.F

inally, Susan notes the importance of becoming part of a network for exchanging ideas.

 
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The LT Green Room is a podcast for Renewal, Retooling and Conversations about Learning. It is co-hosted by Susan Manning and Dan Balzer and its show topics are often drawn from members of LearningTimes.org, a free online community of education and training professionals from across the globe. The LT Green Room gives listeners (and ourselves) an opportunity to reflect on what they're doing behind the scene that results in an effective learning experience.

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