Report Examines Working Conditions of Part-Time Faculty

By Ezra Deutsch-Feldman

In June, the Coalition on the Academic Workforce, a group that includes the AAUP, released an initial report based on data from its wide-ranging survey of the working conditions of contingent faculty. Nearly thirty thousand people replied to the survey. The initial report focused on part-time faculty members, from whom ten thousand responses were received.

John Curtis, the AAUP’s director of research and public policy, was a member of the coalition group that developed the survey questionnaire and carried out the initial data analysis. He noted, “This is one of the largest surveys of faculty working conditions ever undertaken, and it fills an important gap in our knowledge of the working conditions and compensation of non-tenure-track faculty members, graduate student employees, and other academics employed contingently. These colleagues constitute the majority of instructional staff members at our colleges and universities, but documentation of their efforts has been sorely lacking.”

The results show how heavily colleges and universities are relying on part-time faculty members without supporting them adequately. Key findings include the following:

  • The median pay per course, standardized to a three-credit course, was $2,700 in fall 2010. Average pay ranged in the aggregate from a low of $2,235 at two-year colleges to a high of $3,400 at four-year doctoral or research universities.
  • More than three-quarters of respondents said they have sought, are now seeking, or will be seeking a full-time tenure-track position, and nearly three-quarters said they would definitely or probably accept a full-time tenure-track position at the institution at which they were currently teaching if such a position were offered.
  • Professional support for part-time faculty members’ work outside the classroom and inclusion in academic decision making was minimal.

Read the full report at

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