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New Study: Jobs With Tenure Few and Far Between for Adjunct Women

by Kent McDonald

Tenure is a goal many professors strive for — but it remains further out of reach for women and underrepresented minorities, according to a recent research study from the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association Institute. Martin Finkelstein, a professor at Seton Hall University and one of the co-authors of the study, said the number of faculty positions offered to people from diverse backgrounds has increased, but mostly in part-time, non-tenure positions.

“(Tenure) is what we would call a career ladder opportunity,” he said. “It’s an opportunity where there is a timetable and a procedure for getting promoted.”

Finkelstein said part-time or adjunct faculty positions lack the structure and commitment that tenure or tenure-track positions have. From 1993 to 2013, there was also an 84.3 percent increase in the number of full-time positions offered without any tenure or tenure-track opportunity, he said.

The study’s authors reveal that, “The magnitude of women’s growth in full-time and tenured or tenure-track appointments, however, pales in comparison to their growth in part-time appointments (144.2%) and full-time, non-tenure-track appointments (121.8%).”

Appointment_TypeBetween 1993 and 2013, the proportion of all women faculty who are tenured or on the tenure-track has actually declined from 20% to

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