Accelerated Degree Program Faculty: Motivation to Teach

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Adult educators are a growing part of American higher education. Because of their increasing prominence in adult education, it is essential to understand what roles these educators play and what motivates them to remain in the profession despite poor work prospects and conditions. Research to date, however, focuses primarily on the adult learner and not the adult educator. The purpose of this qualitative, multiple-case study was to explore the role and motivation for teaching of adult educators employed as adjunct faculty in an accelerated degree program at a small, liberal arts college in the northwest United States. Purposeful sampling was ... continued below

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Grishkevich, Hanna Hults May 2016.

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  • Grishkevich, Hanna Hults

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Description

Adult educators are a growing part of American higher education. Because of their increasing prominence in adult education, it is essential to understand what roles these educators play and what motivates them to remain in the profession despite poor work prospects and conditions. Research to date, however, focuses primarily on the adult learner and not the adult educator.
The purpose of this qualitative, multiple-case study was to explore the role and motivation for teaching of adult educators employed as adjunct faculty in an accelerated degree program at a small, liberal arts college in the northwest United States. Purposeful sampling was used to select the five participants for the study. All participants taught in the program for more than five years and were considered to be successful in their positions by peers, students, and administrators. The study employed a preliminary demographic survey to solicit initial background data on the instructors. Other data collection included in-depth, open-ended, face-to-face interviews, document analysis, and classroom observation.
The results showed that all five participants identified the following roles and assumed them in the classroom: (a) facilitator, (b) listener, (c) specialist, (d) guide, (e) adviser, and (f) co-learner or colleague. Further results showed that all five participants were motivated to teach in the program for reasons other than monetary compensation. Although participants shared different levels of personal commitment to the institution, they all expressed extensive commitment to teaching, their discipline, and students. Motivating factors for teaching were (a) opportunity to teach part time, (b) love for the subject, (c) opportunity to gain more expertise in the field, (d) opportunity to grow and learn, (e) opportunity to give back, and (f) student success and growth.
A major practical implication of this study is that adjunct faculty in an adult education program are motivated to teach for different reasons, but the primary motivation can be seen as altruistic versus monetary and practical. If college administrators want to produce and retain successful adjunct faculty, they must recruit and hire those individuals whose motivation for teaching is altruistic with a desire to enrich the lives of students.

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  • May 2016

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  • June 28, 2016, 4:28 p.m.

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  • July 25, 2016, 12:59 p.m.

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Grishkevich, Hanna Hults. Accelerated Degree Program Faculty: Motivation to Teach, dissertation, May 2016; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc849699/: accessed September 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .