An Examination of Adjunct Faculty Characteristics: Comparison between Non-Profit and For-Profit Institutions

by Keith Starcher and B. Jean Mandernach, OJDLA

Institutions must understand the unique characteristics and motivations of adjunct faculty teaching online to more effectively support a diverse faculty population. The current study examines faculty characteristics and motivations to explore differences in the types of adjunct faculty teaching at non-profit or for-profit institutions. A survey of 859 part-time, online instructors found no statistically significant differences for gender, level of education, faculty typology (e.g., hope to obtain full time in higher education), or satisfaction; small differences were found in relation to ethnicity, academic experience, level of instruction (undergraduate or graduate), class size, and willingness to recommend online adjunct teaching to others. The results suggest that online adjunct faculty at for-profit and non-profit institutions are remarkably similar with regards to personal and academic characterstics as well as their motivation for and satisfaction with teaching online in an adjunct capacity.

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