First Advisor

Richard B. Halley

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Economics, Community colleges -- Faculty



Physical Description

3, xiii, 234 leaves 28 cm.


The labor market for part-time faculty at community colleges has changed such that in the past decade the number of instructors who teach part-time now outnumber those who teach full-time. This dissertation examines the full-time and part-time labor markets arguing that two separate labor markets exist. The supply in an urban area is nearly perfectly elastic for both full-time and part-time faculty; the demand side of the labor market is characterized by a number of costs. Data on costs were collected by two separate questionnaires, one to faculty and one to the personnel office of each college. The costs differ between full-time faculty and part-time faculty and include wages and fringe benefits, which are higher for the full-time than for the part-time faculty, and turnover costs which, on the basis of the total cost of the two groups, are higher for the part-time than for the full-time faculty. Because a service is produced, the input side rather than the output side of the labor market is used to estimate the expected productivity of the two groups. Literature on human resource investment is used as a basis for examination of productivity difference of the two groups. The labor market for the two faculty groups is segmented; however, the faculty perform nearly identical services and thus are considered perfect substitutes although not on a one-to-one ratio. The productivity difference between the full-time and part-time faculty is based on data collected by the faculty questionnaire. Based on the theoretical predictions and using the above data, the dissertation examines the effect of costs and constraints on the optimum employment combination of full-time and part-time faculty at urban community colleges. The hypothesis examined is that colleges act in a rational way given costs, productivity, and other constraints. Linear programming was used to examine the problem, and results showed that community colleges do act in a rational way, and will minimize total cost or maximize output. Further examination simulated conditions that might affect the community college from internal or external sources. The purpose of the simulation analysis was to determine the optimum combination of full-time and part-time instructors and the effect on the output or costs to the college. Simulations included changes in constraints, total budget, and total output requirements, and adjustments of costs and productivity relationships between the two faculty groups. The results showed that the college would adjust its part-time faculty, which formed a relatively variable factor of production, rather than its full-time faculty.


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Portland State University. School of Urban Affairs.

Persistent Identifier