New Research on Adjunct Faculty in Higher Education

Will adjunct faculty replace the tenured professor? How have for-profit colleges influenced the role of part-time faculty? 

Phillip W. Magness addresses these questions in his article “For-Profit Universities and the Roots of Adjunctification in US Higher Education” published in Liberal Education.

“In 1970, full-time faculty comprised more than 75 percent of the academic workforce. Today, they comprise just over 50 percent; the remaining positions are filled by adjuncts. This trend portends great uncertainty about the future of academic employment, not to mention well-justified alarm at the working environment it promotes in the present. At an average of $2,700 to $3,200 per course, adjuncts’ earnings typically fall well below those of their tenured, tenure-track, and contract counterparts. Questions about the long-term sustainability of an adjunct-dependent higher education system and the fairness pertaining to sharply divergent employment conditions need seriously to be addressed…”

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