Activity Feed Discussions Blogs Bookmarks Files

Contingency Plan

Building a contingency plan by increasing the number of adjunct faculty has created a stabilizing factor with faculty and increased my flexibility with schedule.

Thanks for the insight. So, by increasing the number of adjunct faculty I'm wondering how do you keep them engaged if they are not needed? In any plan as you mentioned flexibility is critical.

Dr. Eric Goodman

Understanding how to handle this sort of situation, or even better, being able to avoid it happening in the first place, is critical to keeping valued team members happy, effective and engaged.


As you suggest, it definitely makes sense to avoid this in the first place. I'm wondering what types of things would you do to avoid this happening?

Dr. Eric Goodman


We have a large population of adjuncts at our location and at the moment we are dealing with low student populations where the priority of the class scheduling is going to our full-time faculty members. What are some best practices to prevent our adjuncts from being disengaged during long periods of being unscheduled?

Thank you,


Great question and that certainly presents a challenge. When there aren't opportunities for teaching a class you may want to look at other ways to have adjuncts involved with your school. This could be as simple as having events/meetings where you include them to involving them with other important activities like curriculum development, tutoring, etc. You may also want to consider posing this question to some of them or asking some of them to help with an advisory board on adjunct engagement, etc.

Ultimately, it will be important to communicate that you do value them so you maintain the relationship over the long haul.

Dr. Eric Goodman

That sounds good in theory, however how do you retain adjuncts if they are not offered courses each term?


Thanks for the great question as that can certainly be a challenge. The culture that you create for adjuncts can make a tremendous difference. Are the adjuncts part of the team or are they viewed/treated differently? It is the little things you do that help them feel connected and engaged. Are there opportunities to create any type of predictability in teaching even if it is once a year? Can you involve them in other meetings, curriculum development, advising, etc. Do they feel they are valued? More importantly, you need to ask them the question you pose? Everyone person has different motivations so it it important to tap into that.

Dr. Eric Goodman

We're in teach-out right now and have retained all adjuncts as part of our contingency plan. We are upfront in communication with them, letting them know that we cannot predict our need from term to term as we used to. If they are willing to accept that, they stay.

I too have several adjuncts that are crucial to our curriculum but don"t teach every module. As the program director I make a point of trying to include them in staff meetings if they can make it to campus, use conference calling, email them in advance and ask for topics of discussion or things pertinent to their class. I really try to avoid the "out of site out of mind" mentality and keep them engaged long distance.

Rose Ann,

It is great to hear how you include adjunct faculty. As you point out the key is to be intentional and inclusive. What difference do you think that approach has made to your campus?

Dr. Eric Goodman

Because of the varied nature of our program, each faculty member brings a unique skill set to the table. Its critical to me to have the students taught by someone who has "walked the walk and talked the talk" not just read about it in a textbook 20 years ago. It is vital to our success (which i measure by student hires after graduation-usually by their preceptorship sites and national exam scores)for students to learn from experienced, knowledgable and supportive faculty. I cherish them, try and include them in any fun student activity and just keep in touch with emails and phone calls during the down time. It has worked very well for me.

Rose Ann,

Thanks again for the insight and it is great to hear about your focus on making sure your faculty "walked the walk, and talked the talk". That will certainly continue to serve you well with graduates that employers value. What a wonderful approach to "cherish" them!

Dr. Eric Goodman

Sign In to comment