Engaging Adjunct Faculty in the Student Success Movement


More than half of courses in community colleges are taught by adjunct faculty, and institutions’ reliance on part-time instructors is growing. Despite efforts in individual departments and colleges, the field has not devised scalable strategies for engaging adjuncts. Achieving the Dream’s new project, Engaging Adjunct Faculty in the Student Success Movement, funded by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, seeks to build institutional capacity to better integrate and engage the adjunct faculty member in the student success agenda and to understand and address the opportunities and challenges faced by colleges engaging part-time faculty.

Project description

Engaging Adjunct Faculty in the Student Success Movement is a two-year planning and implementation grant that will support six ATD leader colleges to develop practices and policies to support adjuncts to improve instruction and become engaged in student success initiatives. The Community College Research Center (CCRC) will serve as a third-party evaluator for the project, documenting the strategies employed, stakeholder experiences with implementation, and project outcomes.

Project Goal

The Engaging Adjunct Faculty in the Student Success Movement initiative seeks to address the opportunities and challenges faced by colleges in engaging part-time faculty in the student success agenda through policy and practices.


Community colleges often lack the capacity, ecosystems, or roadmaps of activities that improve the working environment and support the engagement of adjunct faculty in their student success agenda. When adjuncts are disconnected from the institution, they may be less able to effectively support students' use of campus resources, especially if they don't know about the resources themselves. They may be less knowledgeable about course sequences and program maps, and they are unable to tap into the wealth of informal knowledge that long-term full-time faculty generate over years of teaching in departments and programs and data about student performance and progression. Colleges are also missing out on the wealth of experience adjunct faculty may bring and many are highly skilled teachers. In some cases, adjuncts may be more knowledgeable than their full-time colleagues about students at certain levels such as developmental education. So opportunities for them to share that knowledge and their skills will provide benefits to the institution. Additionally, more engaged adjuncts can create a more stable teaching force, which could arguably improve the quality of services provided to students. The cost, financially and in terms of human capital, associated with adjunct turnover can be high.

What’s Next?

Achieving the Dream Leader College proposal submissions are currently under review.  

May-June 2016  Proposal review and selection

July 1, 2016 Notification of selected colleges


Download a copy of the April 13 webinar slides with components about the project.

Watch the April 13 overview webinar (or click on the below video).



Achieving the Dream contact for questions or general support, please email: adjunctfaculty@achievingthedream.org


There are no resources related to this initiative.

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