Instruction and Assessment Technique Choices of Adjunct Humanities and Social Science Instructors in Virginia Community Colleges




Kiser, Lyda Costello

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Issues of instruction and assessment at community colleges are influenced by the high percentage of classes taught by adjunct faculty. In 2014 for the Virginia Community College System, part-time instructors comprised 70.3% of instructional faculty. This dissertation describes the instruction and assessment technique choices of adjunct instructors in humanities and social sciences at five Virginia community colleges, identified through survey, interview, and observation data, and what influences instructors in this study make choices about what techniques to use. Profiles of observed instructors provide examples of specific instructor experiences. Four themes are identified: 1) personal dedication of instructors; 2) instructors’ practice of teaching how they learned; 3) constant revision of courses taught; and, 4) limited availability of collegial interaction or professional development opportunities. With the increasing importance that adjuncts play in providing undergraduate education, understanding how these instructors teach and assess student learning informs college practices in decisions about using adjuncts, appropriate professional development, and processes for hiring and evaluation.



Community college education, Higher education, Pedagogy, Assessment techniques, Choices, Community college, Instruction techniques, Teaching