Institutional Login. Log in to Wiley Online Library. Purchase Instant Access. View Preview. Learn more Check out. Abstract Free speech is essential if universities are to be sites, not merely for the dissemination of knowledge, but for its discovery, a condition undermined by the contingent status of most faculty.
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What do you think? Leave a respectful comment. By — Joseph Fruscione Joseph Fruscione. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter. To be an adjunct professor means several troubling things: Adjunct Voices Two loves: Please check your inbox to confirm your email address.
Second, analysis of non-tenure track employment for college faculty reveals that the replacement of faculty teaching jobs with gigs has gone hand-in-hand with the systematic devaluation of the PhD as a credential for teaching college courses in humanities, social science and STEM fields PhDs are not generally necessary to teach in a number of professional fields.
People with PhDs not only face fierce competition for tenure track positions in their fields, but must also compete with doctoral students and people with terminal Masters degrees for teaching positions off the tenure track. This has effectively undermined the bargaining position of many people who receive PhDs, and reduced college student access to instructors who have ever published original scholarship in the fields that they teach in. It is common for journalists to describe the difficulties of people with PhDs finding work as an inevitable effect of impersonal market forces of supply and demand.
First, they contrast PhD completion rates the supply with the number of tenure track job hires the demand to identity what they refer to as an oversupply of people with PhDs.
Second, they use anecdotal personal stories to explore the human suffering caused by tight job markets. College enrollment has grown by 90 percent in the last forty years from While the total number of college instructors in the United States has more than doubled since from , to 1. But they ignore that during the past 40 years, the number of faculty ineligible for tenure grew by over percent, and the number of graduate student instructors grew by percent.
When non-tenure track positions are included in calculations of demand for people with PhDs, the demand for college instructors appears much larger, and the supply of people with PhDs seems much less problematic. Contrary to the suggestion that it has become impossible to find work in higher education, the majority of people who received PhDs in either had a teaching job or postdoctoral position lined up when they graduated, though between 29 and 46 percent of them did not depending upon what field they were in.
Doctoral program completion rates and the supply of tenure track faculty job openings certainly influence the academic job market. There is some evidence, for instance, to suggest that a recent spike in the number of PhDs granted in STEM fields has made it more challenging for people with PhDs to find faculty positions in the last years.
In Education and the Humanities fields, it appears that reduced hiring during the recession, not increased numbers of people with PhDs, has contributed to higher rates of unemployment for people with PhDs. No less a labor studies expert than the distinguished labor historian Jacqueline Jones has argued that the decline of tenure is largely an effect of there being an oversupply of people with PhDs in specific urban and regional job markets. As a graduate director, I have also been struck by the fact that some graduate students deliberately limit their postgraduation job search to one narrow geographical area.
We hope that larger numbers of newly minted PhDs pursuing opportunities outside the academy will lower the supply of faculty willing to take part-time, low-paying jobs. During the school year, the last year for which there is reliable data on the subject, only 23 percent of all contingent college faculty in the U. Community colleges were at the vanguard of hiring faculty without PhDs, with only 20 percent of their tenure track faculty and 9 percent of their non-tenure track faculty holding doctoral degrees.
But community colleges were not the only institutions hiring faculty off the tenure track without PhDs. In , only 30 percent of adjunct faculty at four year colleges had doctoral degrees.
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In the Fall of , two thirds of the 1. History at a branch campus of California State University in the Fall of In the History department where I taught, 60 percent of its 55 faculty were off the tenure track, and only 25 percent of its non-tenure track faculty had PhDs. People without PhDs are playing an enormous role in the academic job market. Potter is a professor of history at the New School and the executive editor of Public Seminar. Be the first to know. Get our free daily newsletter.
Column: Higher education's reliance on adjuncts has consequences
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