Adjunct vs. Full-time Faculty
Selecting a college or a university can be an important process in a student’s life. Curriculum and staffing are important aspects of the community college not only to provide an environment of competitiveness to attract students, but to produce a level of higher education for students to be successful in their pursuits (Cohen & Brawer, 2008).

Part-time vs. full-time staffing is an often discussed community college issue today and will likely continue to be in the future. Data gathered in 1953 regarding full-time instructions amounted to 52% within the colleges compared to the counterpoint of 48% part-time instructors (Cohen & Brawer, 2008). By 2003, there were 37% full-time instructions compared to 63% part-time instructors. Faculty and their educational preparation are essential aspects for any community college's success; the question becomes "what are the values of full-time and part-time instructors as stakeholders to the community college?" Cohen and Brawer (2008) argue the point that part-time faculty are less expensive as well as providing the advantage to the college that part-time faculty may be employed, dismissed and then re-employed to suit the needs of the community college.

Instructor Consistency
According to Cohen and Brawer (2008), a professional can be de-professionalized with the transformation of full -time instructors to part-time instructors. With this flux of part-time faculty, would this play a role in preparing the curriculum for the needs of the current student? Is there any constancy of the required subjects to be taught each session with a different instructor? These are questions we must ask ourselves. We need to be prepared for the future with a developed curriculum that can be competitive with global demands and needs, according to Cohen and Brawer (2008).

According to Eagan (2007), community college part-time faculty increased steadily since 1970. Part-time faculty are often portrayed as “freeway flyers” who desire full-time appointments in community colleges. However, in most instances, these part-time individuals have full-time day jobs and bring expertise in their professional field to the community college (Eagan, 2007). Representing 82% of the community college faculty, the demographic characteristics of part-time faculty are white with the average age of 49.2 years (Eagan, 2007). These part-time faculty identify that teaching is their primary responsibility, while 83% full-time faculty serve usually administrative duties rather than teaching. Full time faculty want job security, while part-time individuals at 56.8% felt unsecured about their job (Eagan, 2007).

Full–time and part-time faculty use different pedagogical practices within the classroom. Full-time faculty use essays 48% as compared to part-time faculty at 45%, and 59%-54% for short answer essays. Another difference is the use of group work with 60% for full-time faculty compared to 45% use part-time faculty classrooms. Eagan (2007) found that 50% of full-time faculty used technology (i.e. the web) compared to 25% part-time faculty.

Finally, the data collected indicated that there was steady employment for the part-time faculty member for at least seven years. In addition, Eagan (2007) revealed that part-time faculty members were overwhelmingly satisfied with their employment compared to their full-time counter parts. Therefore, will decisions about curriculum and the style of pedagogical practices within the classroom be decided by part-time faculty members rather than full-time faculty members? How many full-time faculty positions will remain at community colleges? What will the job descriptions be for full-time versus part-time faculty members? These are some of the issues that community colleges need to consider as they develop curriculum and employ new faculty members.

Adapting to Student and Community Needs
In 2009, President Obama set a goal of five million additional degrees to be awarded by the nation’s community colleges. Geographical, programmatic, and financial access must increase to reach this goal. This ever-increasing need for access is the primary rationale for expanding use of the community college baccalaureate.

Over the past decade, a handful of states have authorized select community colleges to award bachelor’s degrees to educate their workforce and keep pace with fields where demand for qualified workers is high. In 2001, Florida was the first to address this issue and today, there are 13,000 students seeking baccalaureate degrees at 19 Florida community colleges. Nationwide, 54 community colleges in 18 states are licensed to award 465 Bachelors of Science or Applied Science degrees. Also, in 2011, President Obama announced the first annual $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The winner and three of the top five finalists offer baccalaureate degrees.

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Benefits and Rationale of a Community College Baccalaureate
Geographic diversity leaves many remote rural areas without convenient access to a four-year public or private higher education option. Therefore, many place-bound citizens are left with a significant hurdle to complete their bachelor’s degree. However, community colleges are much more prevalent in these remote areas and baccalaureate offerings by these institutions could likely increase the likelihood that students will earn a four year. While community colleges currently offering upper division baccalaureate courses often require higher tuition than their traditional lower division offerings, the courses are typically less expensive than public four-year institutions. In addition, community colleges are a better value for tax payers. Average state spending is nearly $17,000 less per community college student than four-year public college students.

A 2003 survey of community college presidents indicated that two-thirds of respondents received requests from employers to offer baccalaureate degrees due to unmet needs by local universities. Community colleges have more of an applied focus than four-year institutions. These high demand applied subjects are already being taught at community colleges and the infrastructure for a baccalaureate program is already in place.
Political Im

Movements to grant baccalaureate authority have been opposed by private and public universities in nearly every case. The pre-eminent issue raised is competition between the four-year schools and community college. In states where community colleges have been authorized to award baccalaureates, bilateral negotiations were vital to overcoming opposition by convincing four-year counterparts that the baccalaureate degrees they intend to confer are mainly occupational instead of a traditional four-year disciplinary degree.

A topic discussed in state legislatures considering a community college baccalaureate is “mission creep” or the fear that community colleges will lose their emphasis on access and catering to the needs of disadvantaged populations as they take on new functions. However, the mission of community colleges has changed continuously as they have become more responsive to the needs of the communities they serve. The addition of a baccalaureate program is a natural evolution of a constantly evolving community college mission.

Qualitative Support of the Community College Baccalaureate
A 2011 University of Buffalo study reveals that, even in the early stages of adoption, states adopting the Bachelors of Science in Nursing at their community colleges produce more nurses than non-adoption states. Furthermore, it appears that these gains have not come at the expense of private colleges or public four-year institutions. Furthermore, a 2007 Community College Review study indicated that community colleges that offer a Bachelors of Teaching have high employment rates and their licensure pass rates are the highest in their respective states.


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Eagan, K. (2007). A national picture of part-time community college faculty: changing trends in demographics and employment characteristics. New Directions for Community Colleges. 141, 5-14.

American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) (2010). Update on the Community College Baccalaureate.

Daun-Barnett, N. (2011). Community college baccalaureate: A fixed effects, multi-year study of the influence of state policy on nursing degree production. Higher Education Policy, 24(3), 377-398.

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Floyd, D.L., Skolnik, M.L., and Walker, K.P. (2005). The Community College Baccalaureate: Emerging Trends and Policy Issues.

Gonzalez, J. (2011). Go to community college, earn a bachelor's degree: Florida likes that combination. (cover story). Chronicle of Higher Education, 57(39), A1-A13.

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Skolnik, M. L. (2009). Theorizing about the emergence of the community college baccalaureate. Community College Journal of Research & Practice, 33(2), 125-150.