In community colleges, over 70% of faculty members are adjuncts, and over 52% of these adjuncts are women. Community colleges have been celebrated as institutions that include women in their philosophy of equity, openness, and democracy (Bailey, 2008). Women may be more likely to work at community colleges where the minimum requirement is a master’s degree for employment, compared to 4-year institutions that require doctorates, and allow them to balance their work and personal lives (Cohen & Brawer, 2008; Wolf-Wendel & Ward, 2006). This study examines the work-life balance of female adjunct instructors working at the community college level and utilizes the work-life balance theory to help understand the identity, relational style, motivation and drive, adaptive style, and strategies for these women. This study utilized a phenomenological, qualitative approach by having female adjunct faculty participate in one semi-structured interview; 20 women participated. Findings showed that the participants were often first generation college students, which resulted in the majority of the women having goals of achieving a different education level than their family members. Relationships also played an important role in helping participants balance work and family life. Most participants were very driven and have high motivation to pursue career goals and to become a full-time faculty member. Female adjunct faculty also demonstrated high levels of adaptability due to the inconsistent nature of being an adjunct faculty and having schedules that fluctuated and changed on a semester-to-semester basis. In community colleges, over 70% of faculty members are adjuncts, and over 52% of these adjuncts are women. However, there is a significant lack of research regarding these women and their experiences. Due to the sheer number of women faculty members represented in community colleges, it would be assumed that this would be a highly researched group (Townsend, 1995a, 1995b). However, there is a paucity of research on women faculty, particularly female part-time faculty, in community colleges. The topic of women within the community college level is an area that has been severely overlooked and under researched within higher education literature (Townsend, 1995a, 1995b; Twombly, 1993; Wolgemuth, Kees, & Safarik, 2003).

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy; Work-life balance; Women educators --Case studies; Community college teachers -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Weber, Margaret J.;