Towards Professionalization: The Experiences of Adjunct Professors Within an Academic Department

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership


Department of Educational Administration


Meredith Wronowski


What factors, as perceived by adjunct faculty in an academic department at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) institution, had the greatest impact on adjunct faculty and their decision to continue to serve in the part-time role? In this study, I explore the effects of not receiving professional development and mentorship can cause for disruption among the adjunct faculty. Largely in response to economic issues, universities of higher education have increased their hiring of part-time adjunct instructors. In 2011, adjunct faculty accounted for 50% of instructors in degree-granting institutions. Studies indicate that adjunct instructors have less access to faculty development resources, may not have office space to meet with students, and have less prestige than their full-time counterparts (Maybee, 2014). The reorganization of academic departments is one response to the economic, political, and intellectual challenges that universities face. This study focused on six participants from academic departments. However, little research has explored how faculty members understand their professional identities and affiliation during the structural and cultural shifts engendered during an academic department reorganization which is the focus of this qualitative case study.


Education, Higher Education, Higher Education Administration, Keywords: Professional Development, Mentorship, HBCU, and Adjunct Professor

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