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Adjunct professor support beyond orientation

Additional training and support after the initial orientation has ended is good practice
University Business, November 2013

As leaders at some institutions have realized, it’s not enough to offer just an orientation for adjuncts. Additional training and support after the initial orientation has ended is good practice. For example, at National Louis University in Illinois, Linda Kryzak launched the Post-Training Café in March 2013 as an online forum for faculty members to support one another and share ideas.

Colorado State University-Global offers optional training sessions beyond its basic orientation program. For instance, one course provides more advanced training in technological tools like BlackBoard. Over the past academic year, more than half the adjunct faculty enrolled in at least one optional course, says Provost Jon Bellum. The three-week classes are offered about once every six weeks, and participants receive a small stipend for their time. CSU-Global also has an optional shadowing program that lets new faculty members observe a more experienced co-worker in the classroom.

At Community College of Philadelphia, the faculty union and the administration negotiated to create a teaching center staffed by a group of contingent faculty members. The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, as it’s now known, is “faculty-run and faculty-driven,” says Sharon Thompson, vice president for academic affairs. Open to all faculty members, the center offers a series of seminars and workshops on topics ranging from pedagogy to teaching students from diverse backgrounds.

Duquesne University in Pittsburgh has a Center for Teaching Excellence that offers workshops throughout the year, says Steve Hansen, associate director of faculty development. After orientation but prior to the start of fall and spring classes, adjunct professors at McKendree University in Illinois can take part in Teaching for Excellence training that is available to all faculty members. Topics for the sessions, which last six or seven hours, range from how to use BlackBoard to dealing with harassment, says human resources director Shirley Rentz.