No budget for professional development? No problem! There are a variety of inexpensive incentives you can use to increase adjunct attendance at professional development sessions.
As adjunct coordinators, we all know that funds are limited and that adjuncts are pulled in many different directions. While professional development is one of the most valuable activities adjuncts can take part in, it is also one of the hardest in which to encourage participation. Adjuncts need an incentive to fit training sessions into their already busy schedules. These incentives fall into three categories: rewards, valuable programming, and recognition.
As an institution, the easiest way to encourage attendance is to offer door prizes. Try asking your food services, bookstore, and other service providers for gifts. Many service industries on campus regularly donate items to clubs and organizations, for which they are happy to receive the publicity. Adjuncts enjoy and need office supplies. Many of them look forward to having their name drawn because they can use those dry erase makers, highlighters, paper clips, and Post-it® notes. The best prize is a reserved parking space. The cost is minimal (i.e., the cost of the reserved sign), and the space can be raffled off each month to a new happy adjunct.
While door prizes may attract adjuncts, they also need to see the educational value of your programming. Begin each session with announcements about upcoming events and due dates. Host short sessions packed with information that covers specific topics. These sessions should include campus updates, new technologies, and mini-training sessions on essential tasks. Technology Tidbits have become a regular offering on our campus. These sessions highlight one or two new, free, and innovative technologies that faculty can quickly adapt to their classroom and teaching styles.
The capstone to any adjunct professional development program is recognition. Door prizes and useful tips are small incentives that do attract attendees. However, successful programs have adjuncts who have learned the value of professional development and who continually attend sessions. One inexpensive way to recognize adjunct faculty is to establish a certificate program. Certificates can be handed out during departmental meetings, larger faculty meetings, and at faculty luncheons. Having a simple ceremony where college officials recognize the contributions of adjuncts creates goodwill and an incentive to participate in the program next year.
Adjunct Institute Coordinator and Department Head
Alamance Community College