Part-Time Faculty: The Other “Hidden” Community


The Center for American Progress recently released Hidden in Plain Sight: Understanding Part-Time College Students in Americawhich highlights the role of part-time students in higher education. It shares how these students, who make up nearly 40% of all students, are faring in a system not designed to support them. It identifies lower completion rates and outcomes compared to full-time students. The report starts an important conversation on the need to learn more about these students to better ensure their success.


In the same way that part-time students are hidden from view and may feel that they are operating at the margins of higher education, so too is another population in higher education – part-time faculty. According to the American Association of University Professors, more than 50% of faculty appointments are part-time.

Contingent Commitments: Bringing Part-Time Faculty into Focus, (Community College Survey of Student Engagement, 2014, p.3), notes,

“For many part-time faculty, contingent employment goes hand-in-hand with being marginalized within the faculty… Their access to orientation, professional development, administrative and technology support, office space, and accommodations for meeting with students typically is limited, unclear, or inconsistent. Moreover, part-time faculty have infrequent opportunities to interact with peers about teaching and learning. Perhaps most concerning, they rarely are included in important campus discussions about the kinds of change needed to improve student learning, academic progress, and college completion.”

Part-time or adjunct faculty are critical to helping students succeed. Unfortunately, higher education systems were not designed to support part-time faculty or sufficiently integrate them into the institution’s culture. There are efforts aimed at understanding and addressing the role and needs of part-time faculty, such as the Delphi Project on Changing Faculty and Student Success from the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education and Achieving the Dream’s Engaging Adjunct Faculty in the Student Success Movement.


At Faculty Guild, engaging and supporting part-time faculty is one of our key goals. We recognize the unique circumstances of part-time faculty and we celebrate their commitment to students and higher education. Working in partnership with colleges and universities who seek to better integrate, develop, and support their part-time faculty members, Faculty Guild provides an opportunity for part-time faculty to improve their teaching.

Through a Faculty Guild Fellowship, part-time faculty join a learning community of other part-time and full-time instructors within or across different institutions and an expert facilitator to examine their pedagogical approach through the lens of research-based techniques and practices. By engaging in ongoing reflection, collaboration, and learning, these professors not only hone their skills, but also better identify with the institution they are serving, and are better positioned to improve student outcomes.


Faculty Guild is on a mission to re-invent professional development. Drawn from the practice improvement model in Taking College Teaching Seriously: Pedagogy Matters!, Faculty Guild moves the conversation from isolated professional development to a shared experience centered on a new language for pedagogy.

If you are interested in learning more about our next cohort starting in January 2018, please contact us and follow us on Twitter. We look forward to connecting with you.