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Lynn McAllister

Interesting post. In order to respond logically, I did review some peer reviewed sources. Two article I want to mention. A 2011 study by Price, Braun, McKinney & Thompson brought out that in 2005, approximately 48% of university faculty were adjuncts. The authors brought out the pros and cons of hiring adjunct faculty. Price et al. (2011) cited various studies that showed contradictory results regarding adjunct/part-time faculty and job satisfaction. Also cited were findings that indicated 75% of all undergraduate courses were being taught by adjunct faculty (Price et al., 2011).

Another study conducted by Jaeger & Eagan (2011)regarding student retention rates with regard to part-time faculty percentages. The findings indicated that there was a 49% usage of part-time faculty to teach undergraduate courses and retention rates were impacted negatively as compared to masters and doctoral students of whom interacted percentage wise more with full-time and/or tenured faculty. Many variables were cited; such as interaction with students outside of class time was found to be less with part-time faculty, job satisfaction was found to be less with part-time faculty, and part-time faculty stated feeling they had fewer resources available to them to prepare for their teaching experiences (Jaeger & Eagan, 2011).
My experience as an adjunct faculty for 6 years was typical of the findings in the studies; however, as many adjuncts do, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and did my very best to educate students. Now as a full-time educator, I do see that my resources are greatly improved and I am able to provide for my students more fully.
Price,J., Braun, R., McKinney, M. & Thompson, A. (2011). Perceptions of part-time faculty by chairpersons of undergraduate health education programs. Health Promotion Practice, 12(6).923-931.

Jaeger, A. & Eagan, M. (2011). Examining retention and contingent faculty use in a state system of public higher education. Education Policy 25 (3).507-537.

Lloyd comments: thanks for the very interesting additional information.

Van Whaley

Comparing Faculty by Tenure Status

What an interesting article. The trend in adult education is to increase the percentage of non-tenured faculty. I am an adjunct-faculty, and have been for several years. I do not have tenure, or a guaranteed position within the institution, but that does not mean I am a bad teacher. I work with several adjunct-faculty members who work hard to be the best teachers possible. We attend seminars, online classes, and continuing education programs to learn effective teaching methodologies.

My tenure status has zero relationship with the quality of my teaching abilities. I agree wholeheartedly that the “tenure status of the teacher is not a significant variable” influencing student outcomes (Armstrong, 2013). The teaching methodologies have a significant impact on student learning. And as Armstrong points out, non-tenured faculty tend to use modern engaging teaching styles.

Lloyd responds: Thanks for sharing your personal experiences. Since data show that a focus on pedagogy makes the difference in student learning, it seems clear that higher ed needs to upgrade and stabilize the role of faculty who focus on teaching. Most Northwestern non-tenure track faculty are full time, but that is not the case in most institutions. I suspect that the full time/part time variable will also turn out to be important in student outcomes.

Ann Patterson

I believe that just because faculty has reach tenure doesn't mean that they are a great teacher. The study that showed that students did better in the courses that were taught by non-tenure faculty and students didn't do as well in classes taught by tenured faculty seems very accurate. I agree that adjunct and non-tenure faculty are more flexible in their teaching strategies than older tenured faculty.

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