The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

Talent Management for Faculty and Adjunct Faculty: Where Does HR Fit In?

In recent years the trend to employ part-time faculty has risen sharply. Institutional changes triggered by, for example, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act have institutions considering if hiring part-time faculty should be a continued, pragmatic solution for future success. And though the hiring of faculty members (full- or part-time) primarily falls under the purview of academic affairs, some institutions are now seeking talent management advice and support from their HR leaders.

At Villanova University, for example, a strong partnership between human resources and academic affairs staff has helped to improve the hiring process for faculty, which includes providing support to non-tenure-track faculty. A recent webinar highlighted this partnership and some of the benefits that have resulted from the HR office’s involvement in working to improve non-tenure-track faculty policies and practices. By working with academic leadership, HR assists in organizing cross-functional task forces, reevaluates hiring policies and practices, and ensures the institutional mission of teaching and learning remains well supported.

Even though academic affairs often makes the final decision regarding faculty hiring on campus, there are a number of ways HR can collaborate with academic affairs when such opportunities arise. HR can help by:

  • Creating orientations and handbooks so adjuncts are informed about policies and services available to faculty and students.
  • Creating or expanding the availability of professional development opportunities, including workshops and mentoring. After hours or online programs are encouraged.
  • Providing access to resources and staff to support and enhance instruction.
  • Creating spaces where adjuncts can access resources, meet with students and interact with other faculty.
  • Providing formal evaluations that gauge performance pertaining to specific job responsibilities.
  • Moving toward more full-time or multi-term contracts; aligning adjunct pay and benefits more closely to those of full-time faculty.
  • Involving adjuncts in curriculum design, department meetings and shared governance.
  • Including discussions about adjuncts’ needs and support in administration and leadership meetings.
  • Conducting climate surveys to identify needs or sources of tension; generating data to better understand conditions.
  • Recognizing and rewarding adjuncts’ service and success alongside full-time faculty.
  • Including adjuncts in e-mail communications.

Based on talent management practices at your institution, how is HR involved in faculty recruitment? How has talent management been impacted by faculty recruitment? Tell us what you think or share your recent or anticipated work as it relates to faculty hiring. Send your thoughts and suggestions to And be sure to check out other CUPA-HR resources, including faculty salary surveys and ACA guidance.

Thank you to Adriana Kezar, project director and principal investigator, and Daniel Maxey, co-principal investigator at The Delphi Project, for providing the information for this post. Be sure to check out The Delphi Project for helpful resources related to adjunct recruitment, hiring and retention.