Date

6-2016

Department

School of Education

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Chair

Gail Collins

Keywords

Adjunct Faculty, Collaboration, Communication, Online Education, Sense of Community, Training

Disciplines

Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Higher Education | Higher Education and Teaching | Online and Distance Education | Teacher Education and Professional Development

Abstract

The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to understand the experiences of online adjunct faculty who have a high sense of community within their respective university. Sense of community was generally defined as feelings of connectedness within the university community. The theories that guided this study were McMillan and Chavis’ (1986) sense of community theory and Herzberg’s (1968) motivation-hygiene theory. McMillan and Chavis’ sense of community theory suggests a sense of community is a powerful force that influences people. Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory is used as it identifies guiding principles for why people are motivated to work. The central question that guided this study was: What are the experiences of online adjunct faculty who have a high sense of community within their respective universities? The research began with the Sense of Community Index, version 2 (Chavis, Lee, & Acosta, 2008), an online questionnaire, to identify potential participants among online adjunct faculty who work for accredited universities in the United States and have a high sense of community. I also included focus groups and interviews conducted via Adobe Connect video conferencing to describe online adjunct faculty member’s perceptions of sense of community in the workplace. Using Moustakas’ (1994) approach, the data analysis focused on identifying shared themes experienced by online adjunct faculty who have a high sense of community. An analysis of the data revealed that online adjuncts with a high sense of community initiate collaborative dialogue with other faculty members in order to ensure they are able to clearly support their students, but often see the leadership’s role to initiate the connections online.