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2014 April 14 - 12:00 am

Part-Time Partners

Part-Time Partners

A special report issued by the Center for Community College Student Engagement found that while community colleges depend on part-time faculty to teach more than half of their students, colleges typically do not treat part-timers as full partners in promoting student success.

Here are some highlights from the report:

Typology of Part-Time Faculty

Part-time faculty are a diverse group of professionals who bring a broad range of skills and expertise to community colleges. This group includes the following:

  • Faculty hoping to use part-time teaching as a springboard to a full-time appointment.
  • Faculty who piece together a full work load by teaching classes at multiple institutions or on multiple campuses of the same institution. They are often called “freeway fliers.”
  • Faculty who choose to work part-time while balancing other life demands.
  • Career professionals who teach about the fields in which they are working, either offering practical expertise or filling a need for a specific specialty, such as teaching a foreign language, or for a new class in an emerging field, like green technology.
  • Online faculty who work for one or more colleges
  • Graduate students
  • Retirees
  • Administrators and staff

Characteristics of Community College Part-Time Faculty

  • Fewer Advanced Degrees

Part-time faculty are more likely to report their highest degree earned is a bachelor’s degree (13 percent vs. 8 percent for full-time faculty) and less likely to report that they hold a doctoral degree (11percent vs. 18 percent for full-time faculty).

Part-Time (%)/Full-Time (%)
Master’s Degree: 67/66
Bachelor’s Degree: 13/8
Doctoral Degree: 11/18
First Professional Degree: 3/2
Associate Degree: 3/4
Other: 2/2

  • Less Teaching Experience

Part-time faculty are more likely to be new to teaching: 37 percent of part-time faculty have fewer than five years of teaching experience, compared with 13% of full-time faculty. Also, 39 percent of part-time faculty have 10 or more years of teaching experience, compared with 65 percent of full-time faculty.

Part-Time (%)/Full-Time(%)
First-year teacher: 9/2
1 to 4 years: 28/11
5 to 9 years: 26/22
10 to 29 years: 33/55
30 years or more: 6/10

  • More Likely to Teach Developmental Education

Part-time faculty are more likely to teach the students who need the most help: 16 percent of part-time faculty and 5 percent of full-time faculty report that they teach only developmental education courses.

Developmental Courses Taught

ONLY college-level courses: 66/75
ONLY developmental courses: 16/5
Both developmental and college level courses: 18/20

Source: 2009-13 CCCSE Data

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