Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name



Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Ingrid . Guerra-Lopez


Higher education is always evolving and striving to be more effective and efficient. Over time, the use of part-time or adjunct faculty members has increased in an effort to achieve that goal. In this dissertation, the concept of adjunct faculty loyalty is explored using Intuitive Empathic Exploration which is a newly constructed qualitative methodology. Intuitive Empathic Exploration was created for this research study with the hope that it can be used in future research. It draws primarily from the concepts of phenomenology, empathy, intuitive inquiry, and in-depth interviewing. The focus of the research is to consider how adjunct faculty members experience loyalty to their institutions and to identify any common themes with adjunct faculty members who experience either being loyal or disloyal to their institutions.

Fourteen adjunct faculty members from across the United States were interviewed in this study. The participants had all worked as adjunct faculty members at one or more institutions, and their only affiliation with their institution was as an adjunct faculty member (graduate students and full-time employees who also teach for the same institution were excluded). Throughout these interviews, it was found that adjunct faculty consistently feel that loyalty should exist as a two-way commitment between them and their institution(s) and supervisors. While some of the participants identified as loyal or having been loyal in the past, some shared that they were satisfied and committed with their work as an adjunct faculty member but did not experience being either loyal or disloyal. Other findings include that the participants appreciate connections and a sense of belonging at their institutions and that they feel a deep sense of loyalty and caring for their students. Some participants also shared that they experienced a strong loyalty to their discipline or to their profession, which was a strong motivator for teaching.