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New Research: FT Non-Tenured Faculty View Themselves As Part of An Academic Counter-Culture

by Sean Nealson

Full-time non-tenure track faculty at colleges and universities lack a professional identity and a sense of self worth, according to interviews with these faculty members that formed the basis of a recently published paper co-authored by a University of California, Riverside professor.

John S. Levin, a professor in the Graduate School of Education at UC Riverside, argues that, for this condition to change, full-time non-tenure track faculty, comprised of teachers, researchers, and administrators – who lack permanent employment protection and an acknowledged role in institutional governance that tenured faculty enjoy – need to be better compensated and have greater institutional authority.

“Right now, they have become like serfs – a labor force for tenure-track faculty,” said Levin, who is the Bank of America Professor of Education Leadership. “That needs to change. Institutions need to take responsibility for these employees.”

Levin (left) published the paper, “The Hybrid and Dualistic Identity of Full-Time Non-Tenure-Track Faculty” in the journal American Behavioral Scientist with Genevieve G. Shaker, an administrator in the School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

In the last several decades, colleges and universities have increasingly relied on part-time and full-time non-tenure-track faculty. They provide

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