While significant research describes the occupational experiences of four-year college and university faculty, two-year college faculty have received little attention from scholars. This study enters the existing void. Fourteen two-year college faculty members from a variety of institutions in Minnesota were interviewed utilizing a semi-structured depth interview technique. Questions were derived from sociological and interdisciplinary literature pertaining to the higher education faculty experience. Two-year college faculty were found to hold active jobs, work in evolving institutions and face a decreasing effort-reward bargain. Faculty were also found to be susceptible to experiencing role strain, stress derived from group-decision making processes and person-environment misfit. Consistent with prior research, female faculty indicated experiencing considerably more strain than male faculty. Highly satisfied faculty expressed they derived their greatest pleasure from pedagogical innovation, interaction with students, student diversity, occupational autonomy and the ideals of the two-year college mission. This study adds to research in the areas of higher education institutions, hiring practices, relationships between gender and work stress in higher education and participatory occupations.


Steve Buechler

Committee Member

Emily Boyd

Committee Member

Jasper Hunt

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology and Corrections


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License