Special Edition: Developing and Evaluating Adjunct Faculty

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Recently, Academic Impressions conducted an informal poll asking academics how their institutions develop and evaluate adjunct faculty.

When we asked academics about methods for supporting and developing contingent faculty, we learned:

  • 67% offer individual consultations.
  • 61% use a workshop series.
  • 51% use faculty learning opportunities/teaching circles.
  • 15% offer grants for professional development.

And when asked about evaluation methods, we learned:

  • 85% use faculty course questionnaires/student evaluations.
  • 68% offer class observation.
  • 28% integrate peer evaluation.
  • 14% use self-evaluation.

Yet experts in the field suggest that effectively measuring the teaching competencies of adjunct faculty requires going beyond the traditional norms for faculty evaluation. You need a balance of structured and informal assessment processes. If your evaluation strategy is to lead to improved teaching practices, it needs to entail more than student evaluations and class observations—though these can certainly offer value as part of a more comprehensive evaluation plan.

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