Date of Award



© 2016 Stefanie Bourque

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Michael Patrick

Second Advisor

Brianna Parsons

Third Advisor

Doreen Rogan


Facing a host of challenges posed by economic constraints and increased accountability, higher education is rapidly changing. All institutions are expected to meet changing student needs, implement learning-centered pedagogies, and utilize evolving technologies regardless of their size or access to resources. Rural community colleges face the same challenges as all other higher education institutions; however, small, rural colleges have added difficulties due to their size and location. Recruiting qualified faculty is one challenge due to the small number of local residents, and the salary and isolation of a rural college makes it difficult to attract instructors from other areas. Retention is a concern, and high turnover due to academic loneliness or low workplace satisfaction can be detrimental. Therefore, it is imperative for rural community colleges to retain highly qualified instructors, and professional development may be one method for increasing faculty retention. However, little is known about adjunct faculty perceptions of faculty development and its impact on their personal and professional growth. This study adds to the existing literature on faculty development programs in rural community colleges and documents the experiences of the adjunct faculty members who participate in them. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used to guide an examination of the impact of professional development on the personal and professional growth of five volunteers. Findings indicate that adjunct faculty members are grateful for the opportunity to participate in professional development activities, and they find value in the experience. Community building, an increased sense of connection to others, and greater familiarity with the college are all cited as benefits of participation. Further, the greatest impact of a faculty development program is on community building and helping adjunct faculty feel as if they are a part of the college community.


Ed.D. Dissertation