Making Adjuncts Part of the Family

After working in industry for many years, I came into education, first as an adjunct and then as a full-time instructor. I have experienced the feelings of being either “just a part-timer” or “you’re one of the family.” Feeling like family can make a tremendous difference in both your attitude and your performance as an educator. At Forsyth Technical Community College, we have 15-25 adjuncts teaching every semester. We rely on our adjuncts and appreciate what they do for us and our students.

We begin our academic year with specialized training to ensure that everyone has all the knowledge they need to be successful. We also introduce everyone in the department and give out phone numbers and email addresses. Department contact cell phone numbers are often given to those who are teaching at night, so there is always someone available to them for questions. We invite our book publishers to come in and introduce our Learning Consultants. Throughout the semester, the adjuncts are invited to the department staff meetings and division parties, and the school professional development and training opportunities are open to all employees.

Two of our adjuncts were asked about their experiences at Forsyth Tech. Heather Martinez has been an adjunct for more than five years, and is a distance instructor. She said, “It is so amazing that even after moving away and having taught only online for a few years now, the times that I’m on campus everyone is happy to see me and knows how I’m doing. That is something else that makes you feel a part of the family, and not just a ‘part-time whoever.’”

Angie Smith is new to Forsyth Tech this semester and has this to say: “Even though I am part time, I have been made to feel like a valued member of the faculty. More times than I can count, faculty members have reached out to me to make sure that I am comfortable in my job and happy with my schedule and classes…Jim Pierson and Joey Bryant made sure that I was well informed from the start, and both are always available and happy to help me with any questions. Gerry Kearns goes out of his way to make sure I am happy with my schedule, and I can’t tell you how much that makes me feel like I am part of the family here.”

One quote from Angie sums it up for me: “I never know who is faculty or part-time when I go to the beginning of the year instruction meetings because everyone is so welcoming and friendly, and all of the faculty and part-time staff sit together and chat with one another. There is never any separation.”

When adjuncts feel like part of the family, the feeling will flow to the students and lives will be positively impacted.

Joey Bryant, Program Coordinator
Forsyth Technical Community College