A paper by Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, Phi Theta Kappa’s Chief Research and Effectiveness Officer and Interim CIO, has been accepted for publication by The Community College Journal of Research and Practice, the only two-year college journal that is international in scope and purpose.
The paper, entitled “Effects of Regional Accreditation of Full-Time Faculty on Community College Graduation Rates,” is a national study assessing the broader issue of the negative impact of the community college employment practice of hiring excessive part-time faculty.
“I am honored that the study will be published,” Tincher-Ladner said. “In times where budgets are difficult to balance, it is critical that community college administrators and policymakers understand how important a strong full-time faculty presence is to student success.”
According to the study, graduation rates were found to be significantly and positively impacted by higher percentages of full-time faculty. Community colleges in California, for example, had significantly higher graduation rates; California is the only state in the United States with a prescriptive mandate to the ratio of full-time faculty by law, requiring 70 percent usage of full-time faculty for instruction in its community colleges.
The results of the study show it may be possible that the more rigorous standards in California attribute to the dominance of this region’s graduation rates over other regional accreditors, Tincher-Ladner said. The study also implied that accrediting standards, such as the regulation of adequacy of full-time faculty, should perhaps be more prescriptive in nature.
“Actually, research shows that part-time faculty are just as effective as full-time faculty teaching inside the classroom,” she said. “It’s the connection to students outside the classroom that is so impactful. This includes providing leadership for student organizations like Phi Theta Kappa.”
The Community College Journal of Research and Practice is a multidisciplinary forum for researchers and practitioners in higher education and the behavioral and social sciences. It promotes an increased awareness of community college issues by providing an exchange of ideas, research and empirically tested educational innovations.
“Phi Theta Kappa commends Lynn on this outstanding achievement,” Phi Theta Kappa Executive Director and CEO Dr. Rod Risley said. “Lynn has been a vital asset to our team, as her research and knowledge helps us to ensure that the programs we implement are truly beneficial to not only our members but also to community colleges as a whole.
“Like the higher education leaders who read the journal, Phi Theta Kappa will use the findings in Lynn’s paper to enhance our own efforts at increasing student success and college completion.”
The journal is published 12 times a year, and its readership includes higher education leaders, faculty, administration, counselors, trustees, policy makers, behavioral and social scientists, and researchers studying higher education with an emphasis on the role community colleges play locally, nationally and internationally.
Tincher-Ladner joined Phi Theta Kappa in 2012 as Director of Institutional Research. She previously worked at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, where an Economic Impact Report she prepared for the college received the League of Innovation’s 2012 Innovation of the Year Award.