Guest Contributor: Joey Bryant, Program Coordinator, Forsyth Technical Community College.
After working in industry for many years, I came into education first as an adjunct and then as a full-time instructor. I have experienced the feeling of being “just a part-timer” and “you’re one of the family.” The feeling of family can make a tremendous difference on both your attitude and your performance. At Forsyth Technical Community College, we have fifteen to twenty-five adjuncts teaching every semester. We rely on our adjuncts and appreciate what they do for us and our students.
We begin our academic year with training. This training is specialized to ensure that everyone has all the knowledge they need to be successful. We also introduce everyone in the department and give out phone numbers and email addresses. Cell phone numbers are often given for those who are teaching at night, so there is always someone available. We invite our book publishers to come in and introduce our Learning Consultants. Throughout the semester, the adjuncts are invited to the department staff meetings and division parties, and the school professional development and training opportunities are open to all employees.
Two of our adjuncts were asked about their experiences at Forsyth Tech. Heather Martinez has been an adjunct for over five years and is a distance instructor. When asked, she said “It is also amazing that even after moving away and having only taught online for a few years now, the times that I’m on campus everyone is happy to see me and know how I’m doing. That is something else that makes you feel a part of the family, and not just a ‘part time whoever.’”
Angie Smith is new to Forsyth Tech this semester and has this to say. “Even though I am part-time, I have been made to feel like a valued member of the faculty. More times than I can count, faculty members have reached out to me to make sure that I am comfortable in my job and happy with my schedule and classes… Jim Pierson and Joey Bryant made sure that I was well-informed from the start, and both are always available and happy to help me with any questions… Gerry Kearns goes out of his way to make sure I am happy with my schedule, and I can’t tell you how much that makes me feel like I am part of the family here.”
One quote from Angie sums it up for me—“I never know who is faculty or part-time when I go to the beginning of the year instruction meetings because everyone is so welcoming and friendly, and all of the faculty and part-time staff sit together and chat with one another. There is never any separation.”
When adjuncts feel like part of the family, the feeling will flow to the students and lives will be positively impacted.
This post was originally published at http://www.nisod.org/?q=making-adjuncts-part-family
This content comes from a collaboration between Cengage Learning and the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD), a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership at community and technical colleges. Recognizing the growing need for adjunct support, Cengage Learning and NISOD are partnering to co-host a series of webinars, podcasts, and blog posts covering professional development topics for adjunct faculty and administrators. To learn more about this partnership, visit http://www.nisod.org/cengage.
How do you make adjuncts “part of the family” at your institution? What are your tips for building a sense of community among instructors at your college? Share your insights in the comments.