Has increased use of contingent faculty led to real improvements in institutional performance? This report explores the strategic payoffs of a well-documented trend in academia.
Higher Education Workforce Trends
As market forces continue to reshape the higher education landscape, understanding the U.S. college presidency – and its inherent challenges and opportunities – is more important than ever.
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.
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.
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.
The ability to forge flexible workplace agreements with faculty is an oft-hidden and under-utilized strategic advantage for colleges and universities.