Monday, May 13, 2013
Ask the Administrator: Old Dogs and New Tricks
So I have one of the most interesting adjunct problems known to man...my adjuncts are too good.
I have tried to cultivate an environment of academic excellence in teaching for the last couple of years in my position. And it is catching with some of my part time instructors; however, my full time folks (who do not have tenure) won't move off center. How do I help my full timers see the wonderful work of some of the adjuncts in such a way that they won't want to string me up?!?
Enrollment in some of the adjunct taught classes well out paces full time folks. They are missing the boat, or rather, they are missing the dock with our students in the boat on which they are captain.
As a second to this....why when exposed to the same impetus for change are my adjuncts doing so much better at adapting than the full timers? I don't want to believe that it is routine, complacency, or laziness, but the cards are beginning to read otherwise...
There isn't much at stake for the full-time faculty. We don't have tenure, but as long as they don't rock the boat too much they are pretty secure in their jobs (as evidenced by the long list of retirees that have worked for the district for over 35 years who are steadily leaving the ranks).
Most of my full-time faculty have taught their courses the same way for many years. That is what I mean about "moving off center." They are using the same instructional techniques, no integration of technology, standard assessments as evidenced by the use of the same or similar tests that they have been using for years, average student evaluations. ...and lots of sitting around complaining about under-prepared students.
I have attempted to provide professional development, research, books, articles, sending folks to teaching workshops, sharing successes, patterning though examples, etc. The pattern for this intervention seems fall into three phases, surface level acceptance of intervention, contemplation or completion of task, and resolution usually accompanied by a variation of, "Yes, this is fantastic! How do we get adjuncts to do this?" I have tried mediocre reviews on average performance evaluations, I share success of those who are touching students, I even tried an online resource center. All to no avail. Success rates for full time folks still hover around 70% where part-timers are up above 76%. And it is not because they are easier. I sit in the classrooms.
In a nutshell, most of my adjuncts are superstars hitting over .350, and most of my full-time folks are bench players hitting only .260. I feel like I should be relying on full-time folks to blaze the trail and be exemplars in the classroom. I am beginning to wonder if those expectations are misplaced.
Have a question? Ask the Administrator at deandad (at) gmail (dot) com.