Dimensions of Part-Time Faculty Job Satisfaction: Development and Factor Analysis of a Survey Instrument

By Hoyt, Jeff E.; Howell, Scott L. et al. | Journal of Adult Education, Fall 2007 | Go to article overview

Dimensions of Part-Time Faculty Job Satisfaction: Development and Factor Analysis of a Survey Instrument


Hoyt, Jeff E., Howell, Scott L., Eggett, Dennis, Journal of Adult Education


Abstract

The purpose of this research study was to develop a reliable and valid survey instrument for assessing the satisfaction of part-time faculty teaching in continuing higher education at Brigham Young University (BYU). This article describes the reliability and validity of the instrument that may be used by other administrators and researchers interested in evaluating part-time faculty job satisfaction at their respective institutions. The researchers hypothesized that dimensions of overall job satisfaction (adapted from the Herzberg model) would be measured by subscales on the survey instrument. The factor analysis provided empirical support for eight dimensions. The failure of two subscales in the factor analysis (status and job security) and one subscale on the test of internal reliability (challenge) will necessitate a revision of applicable survey questions.

Introduction

Much research has been conducted concerning job satisfaction of full-time faculty as demonstrated in literature reviews in works by Hagedorn (2000) and Tack and Patitu (1992). The ongoing research shows several studies completed more recently (Ambrose, Huston, & Norman, 2005; Isaac & Boyer, 2007; Johnsrud & Rosser, 2002; Reybold, 2005). However, peer- reviewed studies on part-time faculty job satisfaction are limited to just a few (Antony & Valadez, 2002; Feldman & Turnley, 2001; Townsend & Hauss, 2003; Truell, Price, & Joyner, 1998). This is the case despite the fact that "part-time faculty are a permanent and important part of teaching and learning at community, junior, and vocational colleges; four-year colleges; and universities" (Baron-Nixon, 2007, p. 1).

Prior studies on part-time faculty job satisfaction have relied on data from the National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF) or other in-house survey instruments. Despite poor reliability, institutional instruments were comprised primarily of single survey questions to measure job satisfaction constructs with the exception of one summated rating scale of overall job satisfaction used in a study by Feldman and Turnley (2001). Antony and Valadez (2002) were able to develop three summated rating scales using the NSOPF data: satisfaction with students, satisfaction with personal autonomy, and satisfaction with demands and rewards. Other standardized surveys such as the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) Faculty Survey were not designed with summated rating scales to measure part-time faculty job satisfaction. Several subscales on the National Survey of Faculty sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation could be utilized in future studies. However, it is lengthy, and many questions are not applicable to part-time faculty.

Hill (1986) states that "there are many well-known measures of job satisfaction in use in business and industry ... ; [nevertheless], they do not seem to be wholly applicable to the work situation of faculty in higher education" (p. 39). Likewise, while instruments to evaluate full-time faculty job satisfaction are available, they lack relevance for part-time faculty on several fronts. For example, questions for full-time faculty about tenure, rank, grants, service responsibilities, and research facilities or expectations do not apply to part-time faculty. Questions regarding various aspects of collegiality and shared governance are worded in ways that do not fit part-time faculty. Since they are often residents in the community and have not relocated to obtain the job, questions about the desirability of the surrounding community are rarely relevant to part-time faculty job satisfaction. As well, questions about balancing family and work life are not as applicable because, by definition, part-time faculty should be employed only part-time.

The purpose of this research study was to develop a reliable and valid survey instrument for assessing the satisfaction of part-time faculty teaching in continuing higher education at Brigham Young University (BYU).

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