The cost of four-year universities increases every year, so it may not be surprising that 70 percent of post-high school students attend two-year technical or community colleges.
The need for teachers in those schools continues to rise and many of them are part-time teachers, or adjuncts. Budget restrictions are sometimes the reason, and others teach part-time because because they also have full-time jobs.
Some students, like Midlands Tech student Brittney Beckham, say they can tell the difference. She has one example.
"He flies through everything to make sure he can get done as quick as possible. He also talks about his outside life in class, so I guess this could be his ‘hobby'," Beckham said.
She says the college should do a better job of analyzing the people they hire.
"I feel like they hire people that are really young and straight out of college, and I know everyone needs a job and there's nothing wrong with that. But they need to evaluate them every so often," Beckham said.
The Center for Community College Student Engagement study found that some two-year colleges expect little effort from part-time teachers, and that those teachers often learn what courses they will teach days before they start. The study also found adjuncts in many two-year schools tend to be paid poorly with no benefits.
The South Carolina Technical College System's job is to provide programs to attract these much needed faculty members. Dr. Hope Rivers is the Academic Affairs chair for the technical college system. She says that to continue offering classes that fit with student's schedules, they must have part-time teachers.
"Quite honestly, if we were to pull those adjuncts out of those teaching roles, we would not be able to cover evening classes, those non-traditional time shifts for classes," Rivers said.
Stephanie Frazier is also an adjunct teacher who says it comes down to how much the teacher cares about their class.
"It all depends on the person. I teach as a part-time adjunct, and I'm very committed to student learning and trying to make sure the student has the best experience possible," Frazier said.
Kandy Peacock also teaches part-time at Midlands Technical College. She says it is extremely helpful to bring in that real-life work experience into the classroom.
"In my full-time position, I have the opportunity to practice the management principles that I teach, and I have the opportunity to communicate professionally on a daily basis," Peacock said.
And by bringing those experiences into class, students like Beckham find the class to be more beneficial.
Part-time teachers need to be willing to teach and communicate with their students, because a degree at any institution comes with a heavy price.