Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational Policy Studies and Eval

First Advisor

Dr. Beth Goldstein

Second Advisor

Dr. Jeffery Bieber


This qualitative phenomenological dissertation explored The Departmental Work Lives of Full-Time Non-Tenure Track Faculty (FTNTT) at two public four-year universities located in the Southeastern region of the United States. This study is based on interviews with twelve (FTNTT) faculty members representing departments traditionally associated within the College of Arts and Sciences. This study found FTNTT faculty participants highly credentialed and reasonably satisfied in their positions. This study adds the descriptor heterogeneous to FTNTT faculty members’ job roles, work environments, daily engagements, and work experiences and contradicts existing literature that finds FTNTT faculty positions to be resource deficit and administratively non-supporting.

Literature surrounding FTNTT faculty, Agency Theory, and the concepts of Agency of Perspective, Agency of Action, and Action of Avoidance informed this study. This study extended Agency of Action to include intentional, strategic behaviors of inaction (coined within this study as Action of Avoidance) toward the departmental contexts of policies and practices concerning discipline, employability, employment longevity, and personal FTNTT faculty career trajectories.

Agency Theory, Agency of Perspective, Agency of Action, and Action of Avoidance, as identified by the researcher, emerged as strong frameworks used by FTNTT faculty to construct behaviors to successfully navigate long-term careers under short-term conditions.

Based on FTNTT faculty responses, this study outlines policies and practices that are perceived as supportive or non-supportive. Policymakers may use this data to inform strategies for improving support among FTNTT faculty members.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)