Adjunct online faculty job satisfaction: A phenomenological study

by Hensley, Elizabeth Thomas, D.B.A., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2015, 146 pages; 10132047


Many colleges and universities are incorporating online learning programs into their overall strategies, which has led to increased utilization of online adjunct faculty. Institutions in Higher Education (IHE) need to consider what they should do to ensure job satisfaction for their online adjunct instructors. A key to this satisfaction is understanding the expectations. The greater the number of satisfied online adjunct instructors, the greater the satisfaction among the learners and the institution itself. Because of the increased use of online adjunct instructors, more research is needed in regards to online adjunct faculty needs and satisfaction. The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to identify what leads to job satisfaction for online adjunct instructors, through their lived experiences. This qualitative methodology gathered and analyzed information from 20 online adjunct instructors from a variety of IHEs throughout the United States. The primary question was how adjunct online instructors perceive job satisfaction and how does that effect their relationships with their IHEs. Areas of inquiry included areas that effect job satisfaction, concerns about IHEs and their importance on satisfaction, and IHE’s leadership actions that can result in loyalty from the online adjunct instructor. The six key findings were (a) appreciation and respect is a critical component of job satisfaction with particular IHEs; (b) pay and expectations are factors with significant impacts and varying levels of impact on satisfaction; (c) online adjunct instructors are specific about the satisfaction they get from their students; (d) concerns with changes in IHEs is prevalent; (e) autonomy and flexibility are key components of job satisfaction; and (f) there is preference for IHEs that allow an online adjunct instructors some control over their course. Leaders and administration of IHEs can use the information from this research to help strengthen their programs by understanding what motivates online adjunct instructors.

AdviserKathleen Hargiss
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsHigher education administration; Educational leadership; Management
Publication Number10132047

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