BLOG: Community College of Baltimore County Makes Adjunct Faculty Stronger Partners in Student Success

Grant Fosters Closer Ties between Adjunct Faculty, CCBC and Students
ATD Leader College Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) has been committed for many years to making all of its students successful. The college joined ATD in 2009, achieved Leader College status three years later, and earned ATD’s Leah Meyer Austin award in 2015 for whole-college transformation leading to significant improvements in student outcomes. In 2016, CCBC applied and was selected to participate in ATD’s Engaging Adjunct Faculty in the Student Success Movement, an initiative to support six colleges’ efforts to include adjunct faculty more fully in the colleges’ work to advance student success.  At CCBC, adjunct faculty teach nearly half of the student body, so the college seized the opportunity presented by the grant to help more students find academic success through stronger connections to adjunct faculty. At the same time, adjunct faculty would become a better supported, more integral part of CCBC.

Dallas Dolan, Assistant Dean for Faculty Training and Development at CCBC and principal investigator for ATD’s adjunct faculty grant, credited the grant along with the support of the CCBC community with providing the impetus to increase adjunct faculty engagement. She said CCBC was committed to ensuring that adjuncts have “the resources they need to do their jobs well…like access to professional development and a workplace – and when adjuncts know what resources we have for our students and when they are included in important student success efforts...then they are better teachers and our students are more successful.”

Offering Adjunct Faculty Professional Development for High Impact Practices
When CCBC began participating in the adjunct faculty initiative, the college had been using High Impact Practices (HIP_ in some courses in some departments. The practices, identified by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, have been studied and found to increase student engagement and retention, especially for historically underserved students. Other colleges use High Impact Practices, too, and often only invest in professional development that supports these Practices for full-time faculty.

CCBC wanted to expand the use of HIP systematically so all faculty in a department—full-time and adjunct—would teach using the same approach. The college selected the computer science department faculty to begin using HIP across all courses. With funds from ATD’s grant, CCBC offered the department’s adjunct faculty stipends and professional development to introduce and support the use of HIP. To ensure a consistent student experience across sections of the same courses, faculty collaborated to define common assignments, evaluations and classwork. The college then introduced the courses all at once as the entire computer science department.

Opening a New Center for Adjunct Faculty
In addition to strengthening teaching through the expansion of High Impact Practices, the college sought to build community and strengthen ties with its adjunct faculty by opening a second center for adjunct faculty. In late June, CCBC and ATD leaders cut the ribbon at the Center for Adjunct Faculty Engagement at Catonsville, almost one year after opening the Center for Adjunct Faculty at Essex. The Essex center offers a place for adjunct faculty to meet students for office hours, work on lesson plans, grade papers, or talk with colleagues. Through both centers, CCBC sought to create a feeling among adjunct faculty that they were valuable members of CCBC and, in turn had a stake in the college and student success. The Center opened in August 2017 and since then has had more than 1,000 visits. Eighty-three adjunct faculty and some full-time faculty have been using the Essex Center on a regular basis.

Read more about CCBC’s Centers for Adjunct Faculty Engagement here.

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