League for Innovations 2015, Day 2

Adjunct Faculty Professional Development and Mentoring: I am holding out some hope for this one.

The Suburban Professor, some colleagues, and I have tackled this issue for years.  We have tried a wide range of approaches: seminars, workshops, round tables, embedded observations–all of it with limited success.

The struggle is understandable.

First and fore foremost, adjuncts are part time workers.  They have other obligations and receive minimum pay for  the jobs that they have been hired to perform.  They often lack the resources, motivation, or time to participate in outside activities.

And second–perhaps more damning and more immediate–is the culture of the community college.  Professors, instructors, administrators can not or will not admit to their limitations, shortcomings, or weaknesses.

The irony here is not funny; it is crippling.

In institutions founded on the notion of self improvement, growth, betterment, the leaders (faculty) place no value on their own self-improvement.  Professional development is an admission, a liability.  The education is complete.

A sweeping generalization I know.  But one that has been reinforced by years of observation and participation in professional development initiatives.

Before any professional development program gains momentum, the culture has to change.

Our students make a commitment.  They take a chance.  Financially, emotionally, socially.  They decide they want to become something more and make the decision to take the risk necessary to realize that goal.

I wonder if we have that same type of grit.

Along those lines, the session on Curmudgeons was a perfect follow-up.

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