Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13

Non-Tenure-Track Faculty’s Social Construction of a Supportive Work Environment

by Adrianna Kezar - 2013

Background: The number of non-tenure-track faculty (NTTF), including both full-time (FT) and part-time (PT) positions, has risen to two-thirds of faculty positions across the academy. To date, most of the studies of NTTF have relied on secondary data or large-scale surveys. Few qualitative studies exist that examine the experience, working conditions, and worklife of NTTF. The study is framed by the theory advanced by Berger and Luckmann that reality is socially constructed and the broader sociological tradition of symbolic interactionism described by Blumer, Denzin, and Stryker.

Purpose: This study fills this gap in our current understanding by using qualitative methods to understand a fundamental issue that has not been examined and is critical to NTTF success and performance—how they perceive and experience support or lack of support within their work environments, particularly their departments.

Participants: I identified three four-year public institutions that are Master 1 according to the Carnegie Classification scheme. In total, I interviewed 107 NTTF, comprised of 58 PT and 49 FT, across the three institutions in 25 departments (14 unsupportive and 11 supportive).

Research Design: The study employed a multicase study approach using typical case sampling. The overall study examined departments that had made changes in policies and practices to support NTTF, compared to those that had not made changes, in order to investigate the impact on faculty performance and perspective. I conducted one-to-one interviews with NTTF as the main source of data collection.

Findings: The main findings of the study are that individual life conditions, such as career stage, and organizational features, such as the history of the department, shape the way NTTF construct support at any given time, and that this process of constructing support is dynamic and changing over a career.

Conclusions: The study suggests the importance of Shaker’s hypothesized set of conditions that shape the perspective of NTTF. The study findings suggest that to understand the complex, multifaceted beliefs around support that are shaped by varying individual and institutional conditions, chairs might meet with the entire NTT faculty once a year in an open forum to discuss support or to anonymously survey all the faculty. NTTF leaders also need to be more aware of these differences in perceptions of support so they might better respond to needs.

To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
Purchase this Article
Purchase Non-Tenure-Track Faculty’s Social Construction of a Supportive Work Environment
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $25 is available for a limited time.
Choose this to join the mailing list or add an announcement.
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 115 Number 12, 2013, p. -
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17242, Date Accessed: 9/17/2021 9:29:19 AM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
Article Tools
Related Articles

Related Discussion
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • Adrianna Kezar
    University of Southern California
    E-mail Author
    ADRIANNA KEZAR is a professor at the University of Southern California and her research interests are change, leadership, and faculty. Her most recent publications on faculty include Kezar, A. (Ed.). (2012). Embracing non-tenure track faculty: Changing campuses for the new faculty majority. New York, NY: Routledge and Kezar, and A. & Sam. C. (2010). Understanding the new majority: Contingent faculty in higher education. In K Ward & L. Wolf-Wendel (Series Eds.), Vol. 36. ASHE Higher Education Report Series. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue