Date of Award
Curriculum and Instruction
Paul Michalec, Ph.D.
Adjunct faculty, Calling, Contingent faculty, Professional calling, Professional identity
This phenomenological study explores the meaning that those who feel called to teach make out of their adjunct teaching experience in higher education. In addition to understanding more about how these individuals describe their call to teach, the study explores how adjunct faculty characterize the relationship between personal identity, calling, and professional identity as a teacher. This study also explores how adjunct faculty articulate the relationship between their identity, teaching intentions, and professional practice. Five essential themes emerged as characterizing the phenomenon of feeling called to teach as an adjunct member in higher education, including (1) Enjoyment, (2) Alignment, (3) Significance, (4) Connection, and (5) Commitment. Four auxiliary themes emerged as well. While these auxiliary themes aren’t essential to understanding the phenomenon of feeling called to teach as an adjunct faculty member, they provide additional insight regarding the relationship between personal identity, calling, and professional identity, and the relationship between identity, teaching intentions, and professional practice. The four auxiliary themes include (1) consistency of identity and self-description across contexts, (2) belonging, (3) spirituality, and (4) impact of identity on teaching practice.
The findings associated with this study have the potential to impact a variety of stakeholders including adjunct faculty members themselves, university administrators, human resource professionals, and fellow researchers. In addition to providing valuable insight regarding the connection between identity, teaching intentions, and professional practice, this study also has implications for the recruitment and retention of adjunct faculty members and for the creation of professional development programming that encourages adjunct faculty to conceptualize teaching as an extension their identity and as a unique and authentic expression of self.
Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.
Smith, Molly A., "Professor Who? A Phenomenological Exploration of Working Professionals Who Feel Called to Teach as Adjunct Faculty" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1489.
Recieved from ProQuest
Molly A. Smith
Higher education, Education