Fall 2000
Vol 9 Issue 1


A New Millennium

Spotlight on Adjunct Faculty

A Conversation with Anna Solley

Stranger Things Have Happened

Professional Development for Adjuncts

Adjunct Faculty Collegial Support Partnership Program

Rio Salado College Model for Adjunct Faculty

Devil's in the Details

Building a Web of Inclusion


Adjunct Faculty Involvement in Student Outcomes Assessment

The Labyrinth


Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction

The Forum... Sharing Information on teaching and Learning

Building a Web of Inclusion
Diana Abel, GCC

I have a confession . . . after crossing the bridge from an adjunct faculty member to a residential faculty member, I realized this past year that I had violated one of my own principles. Upon accepting a full-time position at GCC, I had vowed to work steadfastly to be inclusive with adjunct faculty members within my department - and to encourage more members in the early childhood profession to enter the world of part-time teaching. Attending the National Institute for Leadership Development this year helped me to remember a belief that I hold dear - working to ensure that all members within an organization have access to information and resources. I renewed my personal goal to actively work to make my department's adjunct faculty a part of "the loop."

Like many of you, I spent several years as a member of that cadre of instructors known as adjunct faculty - teaching nights, weekends, and occasionally giving up my lunch hour to drive into central Phoenix to teach a day section. Do you remember those years? Do you remember feeling invisible, coming on and off campus without knowing many people outside the department for whom you taught? I do! Did you ever wonder what the President of the college looked like, what the organizational structure looked like, what the mission of the college was? What about the adjunct faculty who taught at several sister colleges? I taught at three separate colleges and I remember what was "culturally" acceptable on one campus was the "the kiss of death" on another campus.

I also remember a feeling of respect and value. Feeling that I mattered. Feeling that my input and expertise were valued and respected. As an adjunct, my department (Child and Family Studies) made me a part of the "team." I was given a voice and I was given opportunities to grow professionally. Did you, as an adjunct, have these feelings or opportunities? If you felt your adjunct experience was one of inclusion, do you practice the "web of inclusion" today? If you don't remember these feelings, would you have benefited, as an adjunct, by feeling respected and valued by the residential faculty? Would you have been more effective in the classroom if you felt included as a contributing professional?

Sally Helgesen, the author of The Web of Inclusion, makes a bold leap forward to present a revolutionary approach to organizational structures for the twenty-first century. Helgesen advocates that webs of inclusion are organizational structures that are ever-evolving and rely upon issues of creativity and relationships. Building webs of inclusion means "that ideas come from all employees, not just from the top down; that what individuals do in the workplace depends on their talents, not on their titles . . ." (12).

Adding to Helgesen's belief that "people simply cannot think creatively and well if they do not feel valued, if they do not feel a sense of ownership of their work," residential faculty members cannot afford to ignore or dismiss the value that our adjuncts add to the worth of our individual and collective institutions. We cannot reserve the concepts of creativity, value, and a sense of ownership as property of residential faculty only. As we move forward into this new century we must keep Helgesen's admonition in the forefront: "The old organizational architecture, with its implicit presumptions of an underlying hierarchical order, its emphasis on rank, boundary, and division, has outlived its usefulness as the metaphor by which we relate individuals to the institutions that employ their labor and shape their lives" (29).

We must move steadily towards an organization that leaves no one behind . . . whether they are residential or adjunct. We must provide access and engage in constant dialogue. As residential faculty, we must build webs of inclusion that recognize that work done at the periphery (i.e., nights and weekends) matters. We must, as residential faculty, feel secure in our own position and work collectively to develop an inclusive organizational culture that embraces adjunct faculty. We must remember that the attitude of the slogan, "Unless you're the lead horse, the view never changes" is a demoralizing vision that "wastes talents and resources, breeds frustration and cynicism, and fosters an atmosphere of us-against-them" (40-42).

I've been an "us" and I've been a "them"I much prefer to be a "we." How 'bout you?

In the spirit of "we," visit the GCC Engineering & Technology adjunct web site "In The Loop" at:

Helgesen, Sally. The Web of Inclusion. New York: Doubleday. 1995.