The Adjunct Academy at City Tech is a federally (FIPSE) funded effort to redefine the role of adjunct faculty and to improve retention, graduation, and the academic achievements of students. The Academy's goal is to provide opportunities for adjuncts to mentor and academically support under-represented students in hi-tech career tracks.
The project establishes an Adjunct Academy, integrating adjuncts into the academic system and simultaneously providing professional training and mentoring to 5,000 students in the School of Technology and Design. Adjuncts provide the majority of instruction in many technical and community colleges, but their role in the academic life of these institutions is minimal, as many teach only one class. They do not get paid to stay to help students, go to faculty meetings or participate in the academic life of the institution. At the same time, many students in technical and community colleges are at risk and need encouragement and tutoring to complete their studies.
This project builds on a successful pilot project that replaced student tutors with adjuncts and achieved significantly greater student retention and completion. This project has expanded to serve the School of Technology and Design by training a large cadre of adjuncts to serve as tutors and mentors, supporting and compensating their roles in governance and leadership activities and integrating them more fully into the institution and into the lives of students. We plan to disseminate the model to other CUNY institutions, community colleges and others needing to retain students and who wish to integrate adjuncts more fully into the academic life of the institution.