The Professional Identity of Adjunct Faculty: Exploratory Study at a Private University in the UAE

  •  Taghreed Ibrahim Masri    


Professional identity has recently made its way as a concept that has become a central theme in teachers’ professionalism. However, adjunct faculty professional identity and development have not been given enough interest in literature despite their increasing contribution in higher education. The purpose of this study was to assess adjuncts’ perceptions of their identity. It also aimed to examine what institutional professional development they receive and the effect of its presence or absence on their professional identity. Four semi-structured interviews were conducted with four adjunct faculty in the Department of Writing Studies at a university in the UAE. Results showed that adjunct faculty have dilemma making sense of their professional selves due to being perceived differently by their students, colleagues, administrators and themselves. Results also showed that adjuncts are vulnerable, insecure, and embarrassed to declare their identity to their students. In addition, findings revealed that they do not get institutional professional development opportunities that they need and that ignoring their professional development threatens the quality of teaching and the reputation of the institution they work in.

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