Data check: Growth in contingent faculty dwarfs full-time hiring at American universities

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The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) recently released a report on The Employment Status of Instructional Staff Members in Higher Education. The report reveals that the growth in contingent faculty is much greater than the growth in tenured faculty, a story all-too-familiar to Canadian professors and academic librarians.

Between 1989 and 2011, the total number of faculty grew by 81 per cent, but the growth was mostly in the ranks of the continently employed. There were more than twice as many non-tenured full-time faculty and more than two and a half times the number of part-time faculty by 2011.

Between 1999 and 2011, the increase in the overall number of faculty more or less kept pace with enrolment growth. But while the total number of students grew by 41 per cent full-time ranks grew by only 23 per cent. In contrast, the number of part-time faculty expanded by 67 per cent.

The report also highlights the gendered and racialised distribution of contingent (part-time and non-tenure-track) faculty employment at US post-secondary institutions. A larger proportion of women faculty, for example, hold precarious positions than men – by a margin of ten percentage points.

It is clear that in the USA the growth of contingent faculty has outstripped the growth in full-time faculty. There is a Canadian twist to this story, which will be explored in the next issue of the OCUFA Report.

American Association of University Professors, The Employment Status of Instructional Staff Members in Higher Education, Fall 2011
US National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, Table 303.10

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