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Enhancing Spiritual Well-Being of Adjunct Faculty in Online Accelerated Higher Education
Sooy, Mark

Published1 December 2021
Type of workDoctoral Dissertation
PeriodicalPages 194
InstitutionLancaster Bible College / Capital Seminary
CountryUnited States, North America

Online adjunct faculty in Christian higher education have an important role in training students for church and ministry leadership. While their role is critical to many programs, online faculty often feel a sense of isolation from the university community. The purpose of this research was to examine whether a faculty cohort with a focus on spiritual health and relationships could affect this sense of isolation and open doors for potential relationships, seeking to enhance their spiritual well-being. The methods for this research were centered around implementing a virtual cohort for online adjunct faculty members in a small Christian university in the upper Midwest. By using the Blackboard Learning Management System, a course was developed that included interactive elements in which faculty participated in self-evaluations, asynchronous discussion forums, synchronous virtual meetings, a PrayerConnect app, and a focus group. Analysis for this concurrent embedded mixed-methods research was viewed through the lens of the social presence element of the Community of Inquiry framework. Findings confirmed that activities seemed to help participants make connections and develop relationships that led to a diminished sense of isolation. However, the intervention methods did not appear to enhance the spiritual well-being of participants as part of the university community because participants identified other factors (personal disciplines, family, and church) that filled this role. It appears that virtual activities can be introduced to help affect a sense of isolation among online adjunct faculty and provide opportunities for relationships with one another. The study concludes by both recognizing successful elements of the intervention and proposing possible solutions for future support of online adjunct faculty.

Keywords Online Faculty · Adjunct Faculty · Higher Education · Spiritual well-being · spiritual health · Accelerated Higher education · isolation · CoI · Community of Inquiry

CoI focusSocial presence
MethodologyMixed Method
Study designDesign-based research
Data analysisMixed Method
ContributionMultiple contributions
Sample size13
Published atLancaster, PA
RefereedDoes not apply
ExportBibTex · EndNote · Tagged XML · Google Scholar

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