Organizational Integration of Part-Time Faculty Teaching Developmental Mathematics Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/xp68km92d

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  • This dissertation was a qualitative case study focused on part-time faculty teachingdevelopmental mathematics courses in one large Pacific Northwest community college. Thecollege was selected for its size and maturity; the topic was selected for three related reasons:part-time faculty have been widely relied upon to teach these courses nationwide; students indevelopmental education courses tend to have higher risk factors and attrition rates; andmathematics courses form the bulk of developmental education (pre-college-level courses,formerly termed remedial). Research indicates that high reliance on part-time faculty (variouslytermed “contingent,” “fixed-term,” “contract,” “adjunct,” or “non-tenure track faculty,”) resultsin negative outcomes in terms of student success and completion. These outcomes are oftenattributed to poor integration of part-time faculty into the institution.The research questions guiding this study were:· In what ways are part-time faculty who teach developmental mathematicscourses integrated into the college on one campus of a large communitycollege in the Pacific Northwest?· In what ways does the integration affect their ability to perform their duties?· In what ways could the integration be improved?The guiding theoretical perspective for this study was organizational theory, informed bysystems theory. The research questions were informed by Wheatley’s (2006) three criticaldomains necessary for a healthy organization: the fundamental identity of the organization; theongoing urgency to connect members of the organization to information; and the importance ofdeveloping relationships throughout the organization. In order to gain a holistic view, the studyexamined the college context and interviewed part-time faculty, full-time faculty, facultydepartment chairs, an administrative aide, and a dean involved in developmental mathematicseducation. These collected data were then broken down into categories informed by Baron-Nixon’s (2007) principles for connecting part-time faculty to a college mission and analyzedaccording to three units of analysis: institutional, departmental, and individual.The key finding of this research was that while part-time faculty teaching developmentaleducation mathematics courses at this particular northwest college were well-integrated into thecollege identity, and while in this department many efforts were made to integrate them in termsof information sharing and relationships, barriers remained hindering full integration. Thesebarriers affected the ability of part-time faculty to optimally perform their duties, depending ontheir individual situation. The barriers were for the most part institutional and structural andneeded to be addressed at the institutional level.
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