Graphic
|

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 16% and from 13% to 8%, respectively, while the percentage of all women who are in part-time appointments has increased from 48% to 56%. Less than one in ten academic women have achieved the ultimate prize, a full professorship.

The growing number of positions without tenure is damaging higher education, said Maria Maisto, president of New Faculty Majority, a national adjunct faculty advocacy organization.

“Essentially, tenure as we know it is evaporating before our eyes and that is to the detriment of higher education,” she said.

Maisto said tenure is often misunderstood and does not prevent faculty members from getting fired.

“Tenure is nothing more than a guarantee of due process — which means you cannot be fired for an arbitrary reason,” she said. “There has to be a process by which your termination is reviewed, if necessary, and overturned, if necessary.”

Altha Cravey, a UNC geography professor and member of the Faculty Forward Network, said it is discouraging to see how the lack of tenure positions has undermined the classroom.

“Putting people in such insecure jobs with low pay and almost nonexistent benefits means that they are scrambling to attempt to teach a lot of students and a lot of classes,” she said.

Being a professor is no longer a secure job like it once was, Cravey said.

Maisto said this research is important because it underscores neglected trends in the higher education workforce. “And that is that this contingent employment model is disproportionately affecting faculty who are women and faculty who come from underrepresented minority groups,” she said.

Although more females and underrepresented minorities have been employed, these increases have not translated to actual equity, Maisto said.

“The vast majority of those people who come from those diverse backgrounds are in the most precarious positions,” she said. “It’s sort of giving with one hand while taking away with the other.”

Jack Schuster, a professor at Claremont Graduate University and a co-author of the study, said the data show how much work is still needed to achieve diversity in higher education.

He said opportunities to hire diverse faculty members are not abundantly present because, in general, higher education is under increased financial pressure.

Finkelstein said increased enrollment coupled with decreasing funds has put colleges and universities in a difficult situation when hiring faculty members.

“The public appropriations for higher education, particularly at the local and state level, are declining,” he said. “So, there is less money and you know, of course, most of the money — 80 percent of the instructional budget for instructional universities — is for faculty positions.”

Maisto said increasing the number of part-time faculty positions has also exacerbated the problem. “The use of adjunct faculty in some ways started out as a short-term solution to budgetary challenges,” she said. “But, because I think people found it was so easy to find people who were qualified and willing to teach, it sort of exploded.”

Short URL: http://www.adjunctnation.com/?p=7216

Leave a Reply

Keep in Touch With AdjunctNation

Graphic Graphic Graphic

Graphic

Want to see your advertisement on
AdjunctNation.com? Click here.

Graphic

Want to see your advertisement on
AdjunctNation.com? Click here.

Graphic

Want to see your advertisement on
AdjunctNation.com? Click here.

Archives

Graphic

From the Archive

  • Tips for Designing and Using Rubrics

    by Andrew Miller Rubrics are a beast. Grrrrrrr! They are time-consuming to construct, challenging to write and sometimes hard to use effectively. They are everywhere. There are rubrics all over the web, plus tools to create them, and as educators, it can overwhelm us. Rubrics are driven by reforms, from standards-based grading to assessment for learning. […]

  • New Research: In Faculty Evals, Students Fall Back on Gender Stereotypes

    by Matthew Reisz French research finds that undergraduates give higher scores to male teachers Research from France offers evidence that “students appear to rate teachers according to gender stereotypes”, with male students giving higher scores to male lecturers. That is the conclusion of a paper by Anne Boring, a postdoctoral researcher at L’Institut d’Études Politiques […]

  • From Koala to Kangaroo—Getting Your Students Hopping With Active Learning

    by Shawn Orr, Digital Educator  You’ve probably seen this chart or another many times over the course of your teaching. Basically, it’s saying that we remember very little of what somebody talks to us about. We remember more if we can see it. We remember much more if we can actually practice it and experience […]

  • Learning Styles and Distance Education

    by Evelyn Beck ATTENTION TO THE way students learn is just as important in on-line classes as it is in the traditional classroom. Yet while most of us regularly design face-to-face activities that involve visual and audio components, group work, and physical movement, we still rely heavily on the written word when delivering courses through the […]

  • Why Not Every Student (or Prof) Deserves a Letter of Recommendation

    Jackie Jones is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Multimedia Journalism at Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism. In her essay for the Morgan Global Journalism Review, Jones tackles the subject of letters of recommendation. She writes, “My decision about whether to write a recommendation is also guided by the four […]

Graphic

Want to see your advertisement on
AdjunctNation.com? Click here.

Graphic

Want to see your advertisement on
AdjunctNation.com? Click here.

Recently Commented

  • Rick: If your looking for non-academic jobs, or “menial” jobs do not even mention your graduate...
  • AdjunctNation Editorial Team: @Jeffr thanks for pointing out the distinction.
  • Jeffr: Note that adjunct faculty are considered to be on a “term” basis and receives no protection except...
  • Scott: I believe Sami is correct in that this no reasonable assurance language will allow adjuncts continuing access...
  • Nancy West-Diangelo: It’s as if we’ve lost the ability to listen critically. If the point of the work we...