Despite the significant role contingent faculty members (sometimes called adjunct faculty) play in higher education — often serving a majority of undergraduate students — the nature of their part-time status often leaves these educators feeling like an afterthought.
What’s more, that notion is often further affirmed when colleges and universities struggle to comprehensively welcome and prepare contingent faculty for their new roles.
“There was a general understanding that our university could use a more efficient onboarding process,” said Edward Wilson Jr., Ph.D., former director of academic affairs and HR director at the University of Kansas Medical Center. “But the lack of flexibility to accommodate different processes and difficulty keeping the information organized were barriers to centralizing the process.”
Edward said his team overcame those initial barriers by first mapping out the processes for each department and employee type to identify each unique need.
Institutions can then work to accommodate contingent faculty members’ needs with a meaningful, convenient and holistic onboarding experience, which will increase the instructors’ effectiveness, improve faculty engagement and build instructional continuity by keeping the best employees coming back each semester.