Part-time faculty are hired at a rate 10 times that of core, tenure, and tenure-track faculty. They account for the majority of hiring and onboarding taking place at most higher education institutions. Although, part-time faculty have become an integral part of the higher education framework, they are still treated as tangential to the overall system. When it comes to purchasing new software systems or designing processes for hiring, onboarding, accreditation planning, and assessment, most colleges and universities are still operating in a full-time faculty paradigm.
When changing processes or upgrading to a new software solution it is important to consider the experience of your faculty who are not on-campus or are not paid to be available most of the day. Their experience and needs may be significantly different. Some of them aspire to a full-time academic position. Some want to be a part of the academic community but are not interested in attending meetings and receiving extra assignments. Others like teaching one class each term but don’t want to be involved in the inner workings of the university at all. All three are valid ways to engage with the institution and its students. Each needs to be accommodated.
If you treat your part-time faculty as short-term resources, you are doing a disservice to your institution, your students, and your part-time and full-time faculty. This can impact your overall employee morale, school’s reputation, enrollment, and ultimately, its budget. It is time to develop an updated decision-making paradigm.
When developing or purchasing academic and administrative solutions, evaluate them with a mindset of ensuring the needs are met for all members of your community; including part-time faculty.
Before implementing new software or another process improvement:
Approaching each process and technological improvement in this way, your college or university becomes more efficient, saves time, saves money, and maintains or improves its reputation, and the morale of your students, faculty and staff.