Adjunct Faculty: Who They Are and What is Their Experience?
Adjuncts are commonly perceived as recent Ph.D. graduates teaching multiple classes while pursuing a tenure-track position. This is hardly the norm.
Part-time nontenure-track faculty comprise 47% of the U.S. academic work force, and two-thirds of them are “adjuncts.” (The rest have additional employment outside higher education or have retired from a tenured position.) Adjuncts thus make up roughly one third of all faculty. This report leverages data from the 2018 Adjunct Faculty Survey to examine the characteristics and experiences of adjuncts, including their demographics, employment experience, position preferences and career satisfaction.
The researchers surveyed 502 adjunct faculty members online from May 14 to June 8, 2018. Survey respondents were selected from the Research Now online research panel, one of the most comprehensive and deeply profiled online survey panels. Respondents represented all sectors of higher education, and 93% were employed at a college or university during the Spring 2018 semester. The remainder were employed during the Fall 2017 semester.