and experience of nontenure-track faculty serve as a counterpoint to those of tenure-track
faculty and, thus, nontenure-track faculty can involve students in new and different ways
and enrich their learning. On the other hand, some part-time faculty are less available to
students outside of class and somewhat
less available to students throughout
their college careers.
The Center’s survey research
shows that nontenure-track faculty
interact less frequently with students
than tenured/tenure-track faculty.
Indeed, some types of student
interactions are not part of the job responsibilities of many nontenure-track faculty. For
instance, at public universities only 47 percent of full-time nontenure-track faculty and 30
percent of part-time nontenure-track faculty reported that academic advising is one their
responsibilities. Similarly, 41 percent of part-time faculty at community colleges are
expected to advise students.
Many nontenure-track faculty are not expected to and do not meet with students
in scheduled office hours. About one half of part-time faculty at community colleges and
one third of part-time nontenure-track faculty at public universities reported that this
activity is not part of their job responsibility. Institutional office-hour policies vary.
Some institutions mandate the scheduling of office hours for each course. Other
institutions leave this matter to the instructor’s discretion. A common community college
practice is to encourage part-time staff to allocate time before and after class to meet with
Some argue that nontenure-track faculty are handicapped in their ability to
interact with students because of the resources allocated to them for instructional support.
In the words of some faculty representatives, “the working conditions of nontenure-track
faculty are the learning conditions of students.” The Center’s surveys provide some
evidence of a differential distribution of resources to instructional faculty, although there
is no indication of its impact upon student learning. At both public universities and
community colleges, the overwhelming proportion of all faculty reported having access
to some clerical support, library privileges, copying, and duplication. However, part-time
nontenure-track faculty had less access to voice mail, office, Internet, and computer
Increasingly, tenure-track faculty argue that greater institutional reliance on the
nontenure track has created burdens for them. Since few nontenure-track faculty serve on
committees, tenured/tenure-track staff have to assume a greater share of these service
duties. A related concern is that at the same time colleges and universities have become
more complex, offering an array of specialized programs to meet instructional and non-instructional
needs, institutions have come to rely upon a staff whose knowledge of and
involvement with these programs is necessarily limited. This fact of campus life also has
A total of 36 percent of part-time
nontenure-track faculty at public
universities and 53 percent of part-time
faculty at community colleges reported
that they were not expected to maintain
scheduled office hours for students.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.