Date of Award

Summer 5-13-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Timothy McCarty

Second Advisor

Keith Larick

Third Advisor

Walter Buster


Purpose: The purpose of this explanatory sequential mixed-methods study was to identify what Appreciative Advising strategies were used by adjunct professors to engage community-college students when participating in Appreciative Advising. The study was also designed to describe the experiences of the adjunct professors as they implemented the strategies of Appreciative Advising with students. In addition, it was the purpose of this study to describe the benefits and challenges adjunct professors experienced when participating in Appreciative Advising. Finally, this study sought to describe the impact to teaching practices experienced by adjunct professors who participated in Appreciative Advising.

Methodology: This study used an explanatory sequential mixed-methods research approach to collect in-depth data from adjunct professors participating in Appreciative Advising at community colleges (Creswell, 2016, p. 219). An online survey was used to identify Appreciative Advising strategies used by adjunct professors and the perceived effectiveness of those strategies. One-on-one interviews were used to further describe their experiences, benefits, challenges, and impact on classroom teaching strategies.

Findings: This study identified the disarm strategy of Appreciative Advising as particularly important to engaging “at-risk” community-college students. Though adjunct professors had concerns over the challenges of participating in Appreciative Advising, such as time, space, and becoming a mentor, they also described enhanced job satisfaction and positive impact on their teaching practices.

Conclusions: The study supported the use of Appreciative Advising strategies by adjunct professors to engage “at-risk” community-college students. Adjunct professors demonstrated a comprehension of the strategies and the ability to engage these students in mentoring sessions by participating in Appreciative Advising. These students do have conflicting priorities that limit their engagement with the adjunct professors. However, community colleges can improve educational opportunities for students by engaging adjunct professors as academic advisors and addressing the challenges reported, such as time paid and space for adjunct professors.

Recommendations: Further research is recommended to understand how community colleges can provide a more expansive system of mentoring opportunities, including space, time, training, and funding that supports both adjunct professors, “at-risk” students, and improvement in classroom teaching practices.