- According to him, universities continue to increase their dependence on positions in faculties that lack pathways to the performance of their duties new message from the American Association of University Professors. More than two-thirds of faculty members, 68%, held contingent positions in fall 2021, compared to about 47% in fall 1987.
- Part-time work is also increasingly common. Nearly half of faculty, 48%, were teaching part-time in the fall of 2021, up from 33% in the fall of 1987. According to the AAUP, less than 1% of all part-time faculty positions are tenured.
- Both of these factors reduce the number of available jobs, the report said. Fewer than 1 in 4 faculty members, 24%, held full-time positions in fall 2021. That number dropped from 39% in the fall of 1987.
Higher education institutions’ increased reliance on contingent faculty members threatens more than the likelihood that academics will not receive tenure, according to the report.
“An overreliance on conditional appointments, which lack tenure protections for academic freedom and the economic security of continued appointment, threatens the success of institutions in meeting their obligations to students and to society,” the report said.
Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, researchers analyzed faculty and graduate student employment from fall 1987 to fall 2021.
Colleges are also now more dependent on graduate students. From fall 2002 to fall 2021, the number of graduates increased by 44%. The number of full-time and part-time faculty increased by only 19% overall during the same period.
According to the report, female faculty members and teachers from underrepresented minorities are disproportionately affected by higher education’s shift to part-time and contingent positions.
Among teachers who are male, 35% held contingent positions – compared to 46% of women. About 42% of minority faculty members held contingent appointments, slightly more than 41% of white faculty. Only 33% of Asian faculty members worked on a contingent basis.
And half of minority faculty held part-time positions, double the 26% of Asian faculty members and more than 44% of part-time white faculty members.
AAUP reiterated her previous recommendations that universities stop hiring part-time staff and create suitable part-time jobs for teachers who want to continue teaching in this capacity for the long term. Colleges should also award tenure-eligible full-time faculty positions and convert current non-tenured appointments as needed, according to the AAUP.