Date of Award

Spring 1998

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

John M. Ritz

Committee Member

Paul Heine

Committee Member

Robert MacDonald

Committee Member

Rebecca S. Bowers

Committee Member

Donna B. Evans


The purpose of this study was to determine Old Dominion University adjunct faculty members' perceptions of their professional development needs. A three-round Delphi technique was employed as the primary research tool. An initial stratified sample of 120 current adjunct faculty members was selected by college associate deans. The research was conducted with 57 adjunct faculty members completing all three rounds of the study.

The first research question was to ascertain Old Dominion University adjunct faculty members' perceptions of their professional development needs toward teaching for an urban university. Sixteen development needs were derived representing all of the inputs from respondents. The results showed participants felt professional development was essential in a range of areas including, technology, handling diverse student populations, course development, faculty mentoring, orientation, strategic planning, and personal skills.

The second research question was to determine the relative importance of the derived professional development needs. Mean scores ranking the relevance of the professional development needs were obtained via the final two rounds of the Delphi study. Respondents felt training in the academic use of technology, opportunities for peer support, and improved support for attending doctoral courses and professional seminars were the most relevant of the development needs. Development opportunities focusing on time management, leadership skills, and presentation skills were perceived as the least relevant.

The third research question was to calculate the correlation between the perceived professional development needs and selected adjunct faculty demographic variables. Significant correlations were found to exist between (a) the need for information sessions on accessing support equipment and supplies and faculty gender, (b) the need for training in the academic use of technology and faculty age, (c) the need for methods of interacting with students and teaching level and student type, and (d) the need for a mentorship program and gender, degree held and student type.

The findings from this study provide urban universities with a base of professional development needs as perceived by active adjunct faculty. Use of these findings could prove beneficial to college and university personnel striving to increase the quality of adjunct instruction.


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