Characteristics of Full- and Part-Time Faculty

Back to article: Who Are the Part-Time Faculty?

Characteristics of Full- and Part-Time Faculty


  Full time
(56% of total sample)
Part time
(44% of total sample)
Male 59% 50%
Average age 48 48
Single, never married 12% 13%
White, non-Hispanic 81% 77%
Holds a PhD or first professional degree 67% 27%
Has dependent children 51% 47%
In first postsecondary job 46% 48%
Average basic institutional income $65,407 $11,160
Average total individual income $78,553 $51,628
Average total household income $113,831 $91,798
Percent with a full-time “other” job 2% 46%
Number of other jobs involving instruction:    
  Zero 97% 79%
  One 3% 17%
  Two or more 0% 4%
Percent whose first job was part time 26% 77%
Fields of teaching:    
  Visual and performing arts 6% 9%
  Business, management, or marketing 6% 8%
  Computer and information systems 3% 5%
  Education 8% 12%
  English language and literature 6% 8%
  Health professions and clinical sciences 13% 11%
  Mathematics and statistics 5% 6%
  Social sciences (except psychology) and history 9% 7%
  All other fields 44% 35%

Note: Full sample includes 1,211,849 faculty members, 681,826 of whom are full time
and 530,023 of whom are part time.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (2004).



Any particular reason why numbers are not listed for biology, chemistry, physics or engineering in "Fields of Teaching"? Why separate out English lit and dump most STEM fields into "All other fields"? Would be great to at least have percentages for STEM.

AAUP seems to suffer from the outdated notion that the true distinction is "full time" v "part time", and that ALL non-tenure faculty fall into the latter. This is false, and the breakdown of the numbers should reflect that. If you really want to report the characteristics of faculty in American colleges and universities, please report a breakdown by tenure rank and non-tenure, and for the latter, by full- and part-time. Also indicate what percentage in each category hold PhDs. Information like that would really tell the story of what is happening in academe today.

Dear AAUP,

I find it difficult to make your figures for the income earned by individual adjuncts <as> adjuncts and their alleged total individual incomes seem credible. If these figures are taken at face value, the average adjunct has a personal income from some other source of 40K, I have adjuncted at a variety of institutions for over twelve years, during which time no such case has ever come to my attention -- and, surely, it would have, if these figures were right. The only possible explanation I can think of is that, due to response error, your sample contained and unrepresentatively large number of adjuncts teaching only a course or two occasionally; the very small salary from adjuncting itself seems to support this surmise. It would be unjust to say that these people are merely playing with an academic career; but they certainly are not typical of the adjuncts who must teach as many courses as they are offered, often at a number of institutions, for a derisory pittance, and who make up the majority of post secondary educators.


Add new comment

We welcome your comments. See our commenting policy.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.