How do part-time faculty members in community colleges view their roles? Data from part-time faculty responses regarding their experiences in higher education vary. Valadez and Antony (2001) analyzed data from 6,811 part-time faculty collected from the National Center for Education Statistics' (NCES) 1992-1993 National Survey of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF). They concluded two-year part-time faculty members are satisfied with their roles, but they are concerned with issues regarding salary, benefits, and long-term job security. Similar findings were published by Leslie and Gappa (2002). Other researchers, however, have found dissimilar results (Townsend and Hauss, 2002, Jacoby, 2005). The paradoxical findings from these surveys suggest there are unanswered questions regarding part-time faculty job satisfaction in community colleges. Are part-time faculty members satisfied with their roles in higher education?
Using survey responses from part-time faculty teaching at the thirteen community colleges comprising the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), this study identified statistically significant factors associated with job satisfaction and proposed policy recommendations for improving part-time faculty job satisfaction. A total of 405 respondents (N = 405) answered the part-time faculty satisfaction survey to varying degrees of completion, for a survey response rate of approximately 12% of the total population of part-time faculty who taught in the CCCS during the 2008 calendar year. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS 17) was used to analyze results. Descriptive statistical analysis revealed part-time faculty members in the CCCS were somewhat satisfied with their authority to make decisions about content and methods in their instructional activities. Part-time faculty members were very dissatisfied with the benefits and health care coverage. Part-time faculty members were somewhat satisfied overall with their jobs in the CCCS.
Inferential statistical analysis included associational analysis between independent-like variables and fifteen dimensions of job satisfaction, the dependent variable. Numerous significant positive associations between variables were found. Medium or typical effect sizes were found for part-time faculty preferring full-time teaching who also prefer teaching contracts and reported they would teach differently if hired full-time. These same associations were found for those respondents who indicated they would seek a full-time position with the CCCS in the future.
The analysis also yielded several significant negative or inverse associations with typical effect sizes. Of those faculty members who reported they would have preferred full-time teaching in the CCCS in 2008, satisfaction with workload, salary, and overall job satisfaction was low. Additionally, these faculty members felt they were not valued in their departments, nor did they feel good teaching is rewarded in the CCCS.
Multiple regression analyses revealed the strongest predictors of overall job satisfaction were if respondents believed part-time faculty members are fairly treated and if they were dedicated enough to teaching to choose an academic career if given the chance to do it over again. The dimensions of job satisfaction identified by Valadez and Antony (2001) to reliably assess job satisfaction, Satisfaction with Authority and Satisfaction with Demands and Rewards, were found to be valid predictors of overall job satisfaction in this research. Recommendations for improving part-time faculty job satisfaction in the CCCS include increasing part-time faculty salaries, offering health insurance benefits, offering additional inexpensive benefits, establishing a seniority system, offering increased opportunities for online teaching, and offering annual teaching contracts.