School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Meredith Park


Higher Education, Self-efficacy, Adjunct Faculty, Part-time Faculty, Regional University


Education | Higher Education


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to understand the self-efficacy of adjunct faculty at Colonial State University (CSU; a pseudonym). The theories guiding this study were Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy and Maslow’s human motivation theory since motivation-impacting self-efficacy was described as a dynamic that has definitive antecedents, but confidence in one’s abilities and skills can change as a result of personal achievements, individual experiences, outside influences, and purpose. This qualitative research was conducted to improve understanding about the self-efficacy of regional university adjunct faculty. There was a plethora of research available about adjunct faculty but none of that research focused specifically on adjunct faculty at regional universities. Regional universities are unique in that they have an exclusive culture and academic structure. The participants were adjunct faculty of varying genders and lengths of CSU service who teach no more than nine hours per regular semester and/or no more than six hours per summer semester at one or more of the CSU campuses. Data collection methods included individual interviews, focus groups, and participants’ letters. Fifteen themes emerged during the data analysis process. The five predominant themes were (a) need, (b) confident, (c) positive, (d) experience, and (e) personality. The results of this study showed that certain events, personal characteristics, and level of support from peers have an impact on self-efficacy. These findings were in alignment with existing literature. Current literature maintains that adjunct faculty have generally low self-esteem but that was not the case in this current study. The present study found that regional university adjunct faculty were confident in their skills and abilities.