Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy In Urban Education, Adult, Continuing, And Higher Education Degree


Education And Human Services

First Advisor

Messemer, Jonathan E.

Second Advisor

Graham B. Stead

Third Advisor

Rachel Wlodarsky


Today, contingent faculty members hold the largest percentage of teaching positions in higher education in the United States yet very few receive any pedagogical or andragogic training prior to teaching. Studies have found there is a level of concern regarding the quality of instruction provided by contingent faculty and instructor rank has been linked to grade inflation. Some universities claim close to 90% of all college students receive inflated grades and this grade inflation is negatively impacting subsequent course performance (Fagan-Wilen, Springer, Ambrosino, & White, 2006; Robinson & Hope, 2012; Sonner, 2010). Contingent faculty members are mainly hired due to their subject matter expertise while tenured faculty are mainly hired due to their research agenda. Most join the higher education faculty rank as untrained, novice educators who lack the teaching knowledge to teach adult learners effectively. If contingent faculty members are untrained and thereby unfamiliar with effective teaching practices, what strategies are they using to teach and assess student learning appropriately? This dissertation is a quantitative research study that examines the effective teacher practices of higher education faculty. The aim of this research study is to better understand the perceived effective teaching practices of contingent faculty members in higher education as well as to determine if faculty rank significantly influences these iv perceptions. A purposeful sampling of faculty members teaching at four-year higher education institutions in the North Central region of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) was used to collect data for this study. The Higher Education Teaching Practice Inventory (HETPI) Instrument was developed as a preventative measure to help identify the effective teaching practices used by higher education faculty members. The HETPI is a multiple statement instrument, based off the review of literature and by adapting the ACUE’s Effective Practice Framework© (ACUE’s Effective Practice Framework©, 2017) and the Adult Education Teacher Competencies outlined by the American Institutes for Research (Adult Education Teacher Competencies, 2014).

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