Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Kathleen Claggett

Abstract

The issue of limited part-time teacher professional development and its effect on adult learners' success at an adult education center in the northeast United States was addressed in this study. At the research site, almost 50% of the teaching staff are adjuncts. Professional development opportunities have been limited, with only 1 opportunity recorded during the 2014-2015 school year. When teachers are provided appropriate and relevant support for the curriculum and student needs, they realize their own craft growth, with measureable student achievement as a result. Knowles's adult learning theory served as the conceptual framework and provided structure for exploring and understanding nontraditional students. Using a qualitative exploratory case study design, the research questions focused on part-time teachers' perception of professional development on their teaching and instructional practice. Purposeful sampling was used to select 8 adjuncts to participate in semistructured interviews. Data analysis involved an inductive study of coded data retrieved and explored 5 themes: barriers to delivering an excellent teaching plan, teacher knowledge of student needs, administrative concerns, sense of community, and professional development needs. Themes were examined to develop a 3-day adult education training program. Implications for positive social change at the local level include information for educational administrators to design and promote appropriate and relevant professional development opportunities for adjuncts. This advancement of ongoing professional development could improve teaching and learning for adjuncts that may result in their craft improvement, positively impacting their nontraditional students.