Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Higher Education

Committee Director

Mitchell R. Williams

Committee Member

Shana Pribesh

Committee Member

Christopher Glass


As the landscape of higher education continues to tip more towards using or employing adjuncts, it is important to understand what factors contribute to adjunct faculty job satisfaction. Job satisfaction has been linked with faculty loyalty and faculty turnover. Previous research on adjunct faculty job satisfaction aggregates all types of adjunct faculty together, while little research investigates the job satisfaction of disaggregated types of adjunct faculty in higher education.

The current study examines ex post facto faculty data from the National Science Foundation’s 2017 National Survey of College Graduates on 3,737 full-time and part-time faculty. Faculty were divided into three groups: unintentional adjunct faculty (those who want a full-time position), intentional adjunct faculty (those who elect to be part-time), and full-time faculty (tenure-track or tenured faculty). Overall job satisfaction was divided into two scales: intangible and financial satisfaction. The study found statistically significantly different results with intentional adjunct faculty reporting higher levels of intangible satisfaction when compared to unintentional adjunct and full-time faculty. Intentional adjuncts did not fall far behind full-time faculty on levels of financial satisfaction, but unintentional adjuncts were still the least satisfied financially. Results indicated that intentional adjunct faculty may choose their part-time status because of its flexibility in comparison to full-time faculty.