Adjunct Faculty Perceptions of Participation in Online Collaborative Research Teams

  • Rita Hartman University of Phoenix
  • Danielle Kearns-Sixsmith University of Phoenix
  • Patricia Akojie University of Phoenix
  • Christa Banton University of Phoenix
Keywords: adjunct faculty, collaborative research teams, professional development, digital communities, research skills


Career professionals who serve as adjunct faculty at the university level are expected to engage in continual research and publishing to maintain their status as adjunct (part-time) faculty, to be considered for potential advancement, and to qualify for additional compensation.  One way of meeting this objective is to participate in online collaborative research projects benefiting from a set of multiple lenses, multiple insights, and a multitude of considerations in regard to design, methodology, data interpretations, and broader reaching implications.  A narrative inquiry approach was applied to gain an in-depth understanding of the experiences of adjunct faculty working in online collaborative research teams. Data was gathered through phone interviews where adjunct faculty shared their personal experiences and reflections about working as collaborative researchers in an online environment. Using an inductive process, themes were drawn from the responses of the participants to address the research question. The dominant themes found were organizational skills, interpersonal skills, and personal growth and development. The results of the study led to recommendations for supporting adjunct faculty in online collaborative research for building a sense of scholarly community and expanding opportunities for personal professional growth.

Author Biographies

Danielle Kearns-Sixsmith, University of Phoenix

Danielle Kearns-Sixsmith, Ed.D,  has been in K-18 STEM education, both formally and informally, for over 25 years.  As an educator, she has worked for molecular research facilities, public and private schools, and several universities, both nationally and internationally. Currently, she is the Mentor Manager for Health & Sciences at The Princeton Review and Tutor.Com, the Assistant Director of Academics for the Blueprint Program at Lehigh University, an ongoing administrator for the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Sciences, and a member of the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research at the University of Phoenix.

Patricia Akojie, University of Phoenix

Patricia Akojie, Ph.D. is an Associate Faculty at the University of Phoenix, School of Advanced Studies.  Her background is in Higher Educational Policy Issues and Technology.  Dr. Akojie designs graduate courses.  Patricia Akojie designed the Masters of Science in Teacher Leadership program for Brescia University, in Owensboro, Kentucky. She also converts existing unground courses to online format.  Patricia’s degree in Educational Policy and Evaluation is from the University of Kentucky.

Christa Banton, University of Phoenix

Christa Banton, Ed.D. is an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Phoenix, Southern California Campus and a member of the School of Doctoral Studies. She has a background in psychology, human services, mental health, motivation, organizational behavior, academic achievement motivation, and technological use in education. Further, she does editorial peer reviewing for the International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, Association for Educational Communications & Technology conferences, and she has an appointment with the California Association for Marriage and Family Therapists. She is also a psychotherapist with a focus on mental health, family functioning and trauma.


Dr. Mansureh Kebritchi,
Dr. Elizabeth Johnston,
How to Cite
Hartman, R., Kearns-Sixsmith, D., Akojie, P., & Banton, C. (2019). Adjunct Faculty Perceptions of Participation in Online Collaborative Research Teams. Higher Learning Research Communications, 9(2).