By SUSAN COLTRI
There are 478 part time faculty at BYU and the faculty center has been holding focus groups with them to find ways to provide more support.
“These faculty members come from a wide range of categories,” said Lynn Sorenson, faculty center assistant director.
These include emeriti professors and homemakers; those who want full time jobs and can’t get them; those who put two or three jobs together to make a full time job; and those who do it just for fun.
There are several advantages and disadvantages for part-time faculty.
“There are many benefits of having a much smaller class load,” said Marcus Martins, a part-time religion faculty member. Martins is teaching part time while he finishes his doctorate.
“It’s easier to develop a one on one relationship with the students.”
On the other hand, because a part-time faculty contract is only for one semester, it is more difficult to establish long term relationships with students, Martins said.
Many part-time faculty are professionals in their fields.
“I bring real world current information into my classroom,” said David Phillips, part-time electrical engineering technology faculty member. “I act as a close tie between academics and the real world.”
Sonya Dispain, part-time Danish faculty member teaches just for fun. “I don’t have to work. I teach because I love it. I would do it for free.”
Having a teacher who is there simply out of love for the subject and the students rather than necessity could also be an advantage to the students, Sorenson said.
One disadvantage to part-time faculty is that they often do not have the highest degree in their field, and lack an academic reputation, Sorenson said.
This is not always true, however. Some part time faculty are retired full-time faculty who come back to teach one class.
The study of the focus group concluded that although the part-time faculty may love teaching here, there are some areas that could be improved.
These include things such as access to parking and media services, awareness of university policies and communication with the department.