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Tenure and Teaching- Intensive Appointments

By Gwendolyn Bradley

The majority of faculty members hold teaching-intensive positions, and over the past few decades the majority of teaching-intensive positions have been shunted outside of the tenure system and stripped of other responsibilities, says Tenure and Teaching-Intensive Appointments, a report issued by the AAUP’s Committee on Contingency and the Profession. The report, originally titled Conversion of Appointments to the Tenure Track, was issued in draft form in October 2009 and prompted almost two hundred comments. This final report has been revised in response to comments received on the draft.

The seismic shift from “teaching-intensive” faculty within the big tent of tenure to “teaching-only” faculty outside of it has had serious consequences for students as well as the faculty members themselves, producing lower levels of campus engagement across the board and a rising service burden for the shrinking core of tenured and tenure-track faculty members, the report concludes. It calls for stabilizing the faculty by converting contingent appointments back to the tenure track, and it includes examples of conversions and other forms of stabilization that have been put into place at different institutions. Read the report online or in volume 96 (2010) of the Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors.


This document is promising, but it misses the chance to substantively address how to improve the conditions for part-time faculty. Not all of us prefer to remain part-time.

What the AAUP proposes to do to increase the security of the part-time majority remains the big issue, in my opinion. The problem will be getting our tenured and tenure-track colleagues to agree to any of the possible solutions. Instructor tenure, regularization, or full-time non-tenure track postions would help us a great deal, but these ideas most often get dismissed out of hand.

If my full-time tenure-track and enured colleagues have any suggestions they would actively support to help the part-time faculty, I'd love to see them included in this document.

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