Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

Matthew Kruger-Ross, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Elmore, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline S. Hodes, EdD


This critical action research thesis will explore the 40-year rise of adjunctification, the term coined to describe the increased reliance on adjunct and contingent labor in institutions of higher education. This thesis will examine adjunctification’s detrimental effects on teaching in higher education as a profession, on adjuncts and contingent teachers, and on students. Institutional overreliance on adjunct faculty as cheap, ad hoc labor flies in the face of the role that education should play in society: to develop student potentiality and capacity for critical thought. I believe that the casualization of teaching and the subsequent rise of adjunctification preclude these teachers, however dedicated, from providing the support and attention that students need to be successful. My interest in this concern stems from my personal experiences as an adjunct instructor. These experiences have informed my programmatic intervention, which is the creation of an Adjunct Coordinator Position and a New Adjunct Mentor Program. In order to mitigate the negative effects of adjunctification, this intervention seeks to provide institutional support and investment in adjuncts.