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Study Examines Whether Online Adjuncts Have it any Better Than Their On Campus Counterparts

by Meris Stansbury

According to a new report, online adjunct faculty are experiencing many of the same challenges as on-campus adjuncts, mainly because the same policies governing on-campus adjuncts are used for those in online programs. But that’s only the tip of the online adjunct practice iceberg.

According to the report—a joint project of WCET and The Learning House, Inc., and written by Andrew Magda, manager of Market Research of The Learning House; Russell Poulin, director of Policy and Analysis at WCET; and Dr. David Clinefelter, chief academic officer at The Learning House—over 200 deans, directors and provosts at two- and four-year higher education institutions who were familiar with the online learning practices at their respective institutions were surveyed to gather information around the hiring, expectations, policies and support of adjunct and part-time faculty members for online courses.

Researching practices relating to online adjunct faculty is important, notes the report, since adjunct faculty members have been key in the exponential growth of online programs over the past decade. And though National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (2015) data shows that college enrollments declined close to 2 percent over the past year, the number of adjunct faculty continues to rise,

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