Higher Education Workforce Trends

Higher Education Workforce Trends icon
Evolving Faculty Patterns

Today about 70% of faculty at U.S. institutions hold full- or part-time nontenure-track positions. The TIAA Institute focuses on such issues as the quality of student learning, making the most of the growing contingent faculty and reluctant retirees. 

Insights

While reliance on part-time contingent faculty has helped constrain faculty compensation costs, it hasn’t produced the same level of savings in total compensation costs for all employees.

The shift toward contingent faculty in the academic workforce is well documented; what’s less clear is the concentration of contingent faculty at different types of institutions, the nature of contingent faculty contracts, and the effect on student outcomes.

Higher education’s dual mission of research and teaching position the sector to rapidly discover and deploy new processes for teaching and learning. However, resource constraints and traditional structures in higher education can pose major barriers.

Research Reports

Today, some 70% of faculty at U.S. institutions hold full- or part-time nontenure-track positions, and a return to the days of a largely tenure-track faculty is highly unlikely. What’s less clear is what future faculty models should look like.

U.S. colleges and universities have indeed increased faculty diversity over the past 20 years, but most gains have been off the tenure track.

In The American Faculty: The Restructuring of Academic Work and Careers (Johns Hopkins University Press) we documented how the faculty and their careers were being reshaped in fundamental ways.