A student taking a seat in a college classroom this fall is likely going into debt to pay tuition. Meanwhile, the instructor at the front of the room may be poor enough to qualify for food stamps.
More and more classes are being taught by adjunct faculty — teachers who are not on track to receive tenure, who work semester to semester and earn an average of $2,700 per course, according to an article on the website Inside Higher Ed. Many of them have no health insurance, receive no mentoring or training, and work without offices.
An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education says that "about 70 percent of the instructional faculty at all colleges is off the tenure track, whether as part-timers or full-timers."
The American Association of University Professors reports that tenure and tenure-track jobs now constitute just 24 percent of academic jobs, according to The New York Times. The Times story quoted the association as saying that the high use of non-tenured faculty "weakens the academic enterprise."
We examine the trend toward the use of adjunct faculty and its likely effect on the future of higher education.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ADJUNCT FACULTY:
• Adjuncts Build Strength in Numbers: The new majority generates a shift in academic culture
"Community colleges have traditionally relied heavily on non-tenure-track faculty, with 85 percent of their instructors in 2010 not eligible for tenure, according to the most recent federal data available. But the trend has been increasingly evident at four-year institutions, where nearly 64 percent of the instructional faculty isn't eligible for tenure." (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
• The Instructors Formerly Known as 'Adjuncts'
"Will 'non-tenure-track' stick? Who knows? Most of us NTTs are often too busy lining up employment for the future, or driving from campus to campus and searching for nonexistent parking spaces at swollen urban campuses to bother about such things." (The Chronicle of Higher Education)