A Glimpse into the Lived Experiences of English as a Second Language (ESL) Contingent Faculty

It is difficult to find equity among the faculty in institutions of higher education across the nation. In colleges and universities throughout the United States, there is an increased reliance on faculty whose working conditions are often inconsistent. These educators lack a standardized title, so for this study, contingent faculty will be the given name for those who are not full-time, tenured, or on the tenure track. Contingent faculty are quickly becoming the faculty majority on campuses, and as the number of foreign born refugees and international students increases so does the number of faculty teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). This exploratory study examines how ESL contingent faculty define their lived experiences. The study investigates their lives through four areas; (1) why ESL contingent faculty enter and remain in the field, (2) how working conditions impact their experiences, (3) interactions, supports, and inclusion within the ESL department and campus cultures, and (4) nonworkplace factors and supports. By using narrative inquiry, the study explored the lived experiences of ESL contingent faculty at a four-year university. The participants recounted their experiences and considered them from a perspective of relationship through symbolic interactionism and sense making through ethnomethodology. The findings of this study corroborate working conditions found in current research such as last-minute hiring and disparate compensation and give insight into ESL specific barriers and misconceptions through the accounts of each participant so the voices of ESL contingent faculty could be heard. Implications and recommendations for future research are also presented.