Statement on the Growing Use of Part-Time and Adjunct Faculty

September 28, 1997

The following statement was prepared by the representatives from ten academic associations who attended the Conference on the Growing Use of Part-Time and Adjunct Faculty, held in Washington, D.C., September 26-28, 1997. The conference was sponsored by the Organization of American Historians together with the American Historical Association, the American Mathematical Society, the American Philosophical Association, the American Political Science Association, the American Sociological Association, the Modern Language Association, the National Council for Teachers of English, the Community College Humanities Association, and the AAUP.

Meeting the increasing need for access to higher education in the next century will require strong and flexible institutions, including colleges and universities that are committed to the enduring values of education and that have adapted to swiftly changing circumstances. At the invitation of the American Historical Association, representatives from ten associations have come together to help navigate this transition by addressing one aspect of the changes already under way-the growing use of part-time and adjunct faculty.

Although the needs of students, faculty, institutions-even those of the community-may justify the use of many part-time and adjunct faculty appointments, the terms and conditions of these appointments, in many cases, weaken our capacity to provide essential educational experiences and resources. Too often the terms and conditions of such appointments are inadequate to support responsible teaching or, by extension, a career. On behalf of students and their families, we urge administrators and faculty to avoid excessive or inappropriate reliance on part-time or adjunct faculty.

Recognizing our common interest will not be easy, because the variety of institutional and disciplinary situations precludes simple diagnoses. A cooperative effort is necessary to identify solutions appropriate to particular fields and institutions. We believe that those concerned about the quality of education must act together now to ensure that the use of part-time and adjunct appointments (most often utilized to achieve monetary savings and other short-term goals) does not risk imposing far more serious costs on students and their families. The threats to student access to faculty, cohesive curricular development and implementation, the intellectual community, and faculty governance-the fundamental bases for educational quality-require our immediate attention.

As our higher education system adapts to changing circumstances, limiting the number and kind of part-time and adjunct faculty appointments and ensuring humane employment conditions will help sustain the values of knowledge, wisdom, and humanity that must be preserved.


Over the past twenty-five years, U.S. Colleges and universities have substantially increased their reliance on part-time and adjunct faculty instruction. In September 1997, representatives drawn from eight disciplinary associations (the American Historical Association, the American Mathematical Society, the American Philosophical Association, the American Political Science Association, the American Sociological Association, the Modern Language Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the Organization of American Historians) and from the American Association of University Professors and the Community College Humanities Association met to assess the implications of this change for students, institutions, and the academic professions. In this statement we set forth our findings.

First, these findings include shared understandings regarding the extent and pattern of increased reliance on part-time and adjunct faculty; the elements of quality undergraduate instruction affected (positively and negatively) by use of part-time and adjunct faculty; the institutional benefits and contributions of part-time and adjunct faculty; and the disadvantages of excessive reliance on part-time and adjunct faculty.

Second, we suggest general policies and guidelines for good practices necessary to ensure the long-term quality of academic instruction, academic institutions, and the academic profession, including institutional measures to improve the quality of part-time and adjunct faculty instruction and professional employment and institutional practices to rectify inappropriate or excessive reliance on part-time and adjunct faculty.

Third, we conclude with an action agenda listing activities that may assist implementation of our suggested guidelines for good practice.

I. Shared Understandings

A. The Extent and Pattern of Increased Reliance on Part-Time and Adjunct Faculty

In recent years, the proportion of part-time and adjunct faculty in relation to all faculty appointments has increased substantially, from 22 percent in 1970 to more than 40 percent in 1993.1 In part, this increase reflects the growth of community colleges. The community college share of all higher education faculty appointments increased from 19 percent in 1970 to 32 percent in 1993. The most recent information shows that as of 1993, 64 percent of community college faculty hold part-time appointments.2

At four-year institutions those holding part-time appointments compose about 29 percent of the faculty.3 It should be noted, however, that just as community colleges employ part- time faculty members, four-year institutions with postbaccalaureate programs and large undergraduate enrollments most often rely on graduate assistants. In 1993 the nearly 200,000 graduate assistants at four-year institutions actually exceeded the 184,000 part- time faculty positions.

Moreover, colleges and universities of all sizes increasingly rely on “temporary” or non- tenure-track instructors. Between 1975 and 1993 the number of non-tenure-track faculty appointments in higher education increased 88 percent, from 10 to 14 percent of all faculty and graduate assistants, while the number of probationary tenure-track faculty declined 9 percent, from 16 to 10 percent of all faculty and graduate assistants.4 Since 1975 the overall proportion of faculty and graduate assistants who are part-time or full- time “temporary” in status has increased 11 percent, from 54 to 65 percent.5

Although many part-time faculty members have excellent professional credentials and do excellent professional work, they are less likely than full-time faculty to hold doctoral degrees (16 percent versus 52 percent) or any advanced degree (76 percent versus 93 percent).Similar proportions of part-time and full-time faculty members, however, hold professional degrees (10 percent versus 12 percent).7 Nearly half of all part-time faculty members teach in community colleges, where master’s degrees or technical expertise are more often the requisite qualification. Nonetheless, those who teach in four-year colleges on a part-time basis are also substantially less likely than their full-time colleagues to hold Ph.D. degrees. Among those who do hold doctoral degrees, the proportion who occupy full-time, tenure-track positions is diminishing, while the proportion employed in part-time or in full-time adjunct, non-tenure-track appointments and research positions is increasing.8

Despite these overall patterns, the group noted that reliance on part-time faculty varies by discipline, with fields such as history, philosophy, and the like more often employing Ph.D.’s, and using them throughout the curriculum. Moreover, Ph.D.’s in the sciences are more likely than those in the humanities to hold adjunct, non-tenure-track, and especially grant-contingent research appointments.9 But part-time faculty members hold a minority of all appointments in the physical, medical, and social sciences and in engineering, while they outnumber their full-time colleagues in the humanities, business, education, and the fine arts.10

The working conditions of part-time faculty members vary widely, but in comparison to their full-time colleagues, the majority of part-time faculty members teach under emphatically substandard conditions. Part-time faculty members are far less likely to have offices or telephones or to receive remuneration for office hours. They have less access to photocopying, computer equipment, and secretarial support. Part-time (and adjunct, non- tenure-track) faculty members are far less likely to receive regular evaluation and feedback from professional colleagues or to have opportunities to interact with colleagues, serve on committees, participate in faculty governance, attend professional conferences, or engage in research. Because of this, a smaller base of full-time faculty members carries this burden in addition to recruiting and screening the part-time faculty. Part-time faculty members lack job security and frequently lack adequate notice of employment or non-re-employment, class assignments, or professional expectations. And part-time appointments are generally remunerated on a fee-per-course basis rather than at the fraction of a full-time rate proportional to the duties assumed. Although systematic data do not exist, the typical part-time fee per course ranges from $1,000 to $3,000-a rate generally far below pro rata. Nor do the majority of part-time appointments include such benefits as retirement contributions, health insurance, or life insurance. One study of community college salaries estimated that a teaching load that would require $35,000- $40,000 for a full-time appointment would cost only $15,000 if taught by several part- time faculty members.11

Part-time and adjunct positions are disproportionately occupied by women, who hold 39 percent of all faculty positions and 33 percent of full-time positions, but 47 percent of part-time positions. Accordingly, although only 35 percent of male faculty hold part-time appointments, 49 percent of female faculty do.12 In such fields as biochemistry, chemistry, economics, physics, and psychology, women Ph.D.’s compose nearly twice the proportion of part-time and adjunct, non-tenure-track appointments than of tenure-track appointments; even in English and history, women are substantially less well represented in tenure-track positions.13

Part-time faculty members have different work patterns than do full-time faculty. Although this differs by discipline, part-time faculty (as well as adjunct, non-tenure-track faculty and graduate assistants) predominantly teach lower-division and community college courses. They report spending substantially less time on class preparation and out- of-class interaction with students than do full-time faculty members. This differential ranges from half as much out-of-class to in-class time for research university faculty to one-quarter as much for community college faculty.14 Furthermore, part-time faculty in four-year universities have substantially lower publication rates than do their full-time counterparts.15 Also, there is much evidence to support the direct correlation between good teaching and active research, and this association gets stronger the older the faculty member is.16 Moreover, researchers stay more connected to the discipline, an advantage perceived and sought out by students themselves (as well as those who rate institutions for the guidance of future students and their parents).

B. Institutional Benefits from and Contributions of Part-Time and Adjunct Faculty

Substantial benefits mark the use of adjunct faculty. First, they teach because they like to teach, because they want to make a contribution to the education of students, because they have lively minds and want to keep up in the professional literature, and because they enjoy affiliation with our universities. Second, adjunct faculty bring our universities expertise that it would be difficult or economically improvident to duplicate through the appointment of tenure-track faculty. Third, when deployed well, adjunct faculty can serve important institutional goals. At a growing number of our universities, especially those in midsize and large urban communities, students want or need to attend classes in the evening. These are working adults, homemakers, and traditional age students who pay for their education by holding daytime jobs, either full- or part-time. This growing body of nontraditional students stretches institutional resources.17

Indeed, institutions faced with budget limitations find part-time and adjunct faculty appointments irresistibly cost-effective, although there may be substantial hidden or indirect costs of which to date institutions have made no account. Lowering the cost of instruction through the use of part-time appointments frees up resources that institutions can use to increase salaries and support of full-time faculty or for other educationally valuable investments. Moreover, part-time appointments represent positive options for flexibility in the academic career paths in higher education for many talented and highly qualified individuals. The growth of part-time faculty work clearly stems in largest part from steady and increasing fiscal pressures on institutions, along with related institutional interests in reducing the exposure represented in the expensive and long-lived commitments of tenured positions. But these appointments also address the incompatibility that some members of the academic community feel between the intense demands of the traditional tenure-track academic career and their family obligations.

Data also indicate that the use of part-time faculty produces for individuals and institutions some professional and educational benefits. In a paper prepared for the 1997 conference, David Leslie noted that a majority (52 percent) of those who hold part-time appointments say that they prefer to teach part-time and that “most”-Leslie does not specify a percentage-hold other, full-time jobs. Many part-time faculty members possess professional skills, experience, and contacts from their nonacademic employment that are valuable to their students. Such faculty range from lawyers, executives, and physicians to journalists, musicians, and artists to technicians, craftspeople, and artisans. To cope with fluctuations in enrollment, and to respond to changes in demand for curricular specializations, many institutions need the flexibility afforded by temporary and part-time employees. Considered single course section by section, part-time faculty members provide instruction equivalent in quality to that of full-time faculty members, at least according to the available measures of such quality. It is sometimes argued that part-time faculty are generally employed to teach introductory or less specialized courses that may not require the same level of professional training, experience, or disciplinary involvement as more advanced courses. Having noted that argument, the signers of this statement point out that far from settled is the teaching community’s understanding of what level of expertise is either demanded by or advantageous for so-called introductory courses. What does seem clear is that employing part-time faculty members to teach introductory courses may free full-time faculty for more advanced instruction and research.

Also evident is that few institutions have the resources required to rapidly and substantially reduce reliance on part-time instruction. A part-time faculty shouldering a significant share-both in size and educational importance-of undergraduate teaching has become practically indispensable to the functioning of U.S. higher education. Institutional personnel policies currently reflect an assumption that reliance on part-time faculty is a temporary, stopgap measure. These policies need to catch up with the reality that part- time appointments are now established as a permanent feature in U.S. higher education. The question is not whether there should be a part-time faculty but rather what should be the conditions of this faculty’s contracts, compensation, and work? And at what point will the proportion of part-time appointments have grown so large that higher education’s ability to perform its historic mission will be compromised?

C. Disadvantages of Excessive Reliance on Part-Time and Adjunct Faculty

Reliance on part-time and adjunct faculty appointments far exceeds the proportion necessary to provide for curricular needs that require specialized work experience. The relative use of part-time faculty is greatest in the humanities, where the supply of qualified academic job seekers most outnumbers market demand, and in lower-division courses that large numbers of students either elect or are required to take rather than in areas that require teachers with specific technical or professional experience. Cost-driven use of part-time faculty also far exceeds flexibility needs. Again, neither annual enrollment fluctuations nor the needs of new and innovative programs can account for the fact that more than half of all humanities faculty are part-time or that the vast majority of introductory courses are taught by part-time faculty (even if graduate assistants are excluded from the calculation). This cost-driven reliance on part-time faculty and adjunct, non-tenure-track faculty occurs on a scale so large that it lessens job opportunities in the academic professions and lowers salaries for entering full-time, tenure-track faculty, thereby diminishing the quality of recruits attracted to and retained in undergraduate instruction and the academic profession.

The immediate cost savings that institutions realize from widespread use of part-time appointments to staff introductory courses are often offset by the lack of program coherence and reduced faculty involvement with students and student learning. The frequently inadequate facilities accessible to part-time faculty members, coupled with the inadequate professional support they often receive, create structural impediments that put even the most talented teachers at a severe disadvantage. The limited contractual and time commitments of part-time employment mean that temporary faculty members do their work apart from the structures through which the curriculum, department, and institution are sustained and renewed. Academic programs require high levels of permanent faculty involvement through department and college governance to maintain and renew curricula that offer students high-quality educational opportunities. Permanent faculty members must be present in sufficient numbers to develop courses, research new trends, set requirements, and design general education courses, majors, minors, and graduate programs. Permanent faculty must also oversee decisions about hiring, reappointment, promotion, and tenure that sustain the quality of the faculty. A heavy reliance on part- time faculty appointments robs departments of qualified people needed to perform these crucial functions, while it overburdens permanent faculty members with tasks of hiring, mentoring, and supervising temporary faculty members who are disconnected from those functions.

The excessive reliance on part-time faculty for lower-division and community college instruction also means that entering and less well prepared students may be further disadvantaged relative to more advanced students. First, lower-division students are primarily taught by faculty members who are not remunerated to provide the out-of-class support that is particularly essential to such students. Second, the part-time and adjunct, non-tenure-track faculty’s lack of collegial involvement or professional support makes them less knowledgeable about their employers and therefore less able to represent, orient, or respond to their students. Third, this lack of collegial involvement also lessens the coherence among core courses, sequential courses, and, where more specialized part- time faculty are involved, courses in the major. Fourth, reservation of large numbers of positions for part-time and adjunct, non-tenure-track positions results in the nonrenewal of many tenure-track faculty whose qualifications and performance often exceeds that of the temporary faculty, who most often are not subject to such stringent review. Or, where preparation and credentials of part-time and tenured faculty members are equivalent, institutions treat and remunerate these equally qualified individuals in such grossly disparate ways as to encourage cynicism of both faculty tiers about institutional commitment to quality undergraduate teaching.

The cost savings achieved through the excessive reliance on part-time faculty depend on a payment-per-course system that inadequately rewards part-time instruction and does not adequately support or encourage class preparation, office hours or other student contact, curricular and professional development, or collegial involvement. This system of disparate personnel policies and contractual arrangements for instructional staff has created a multitier faculty that all but inevitably divides along caste lines. The glowing general terms in which administrators praise the educational contributions made by part- time faculty members contrast sharply with the often bitter, albeit unintended, consequences that institutions’ personnel policies have promoted in working environments and especially in the day-to-day experience of part-time faculty. A shrinking Brahmin class of professorial-rank faculty enjoys academic careers and compensation commensurate with advanced training, while a growing caste of “untouchable” educational service workers can obtain only poorly remunerated semester- to-semester jobs that offer no career prospects. By establishing the root conditions for the emergence of this multitier faculty and caste system, cost-driven reliance on part-time and adjunct, non-tenure-track faculty degrades the environment in which both full- and part- time faculty work, diminishes faculty professional development, and denies many students adequate access to quality instruction. Either the higher education system needs to identify other forms of compensation and recognition to balance the inequities introduced by the current employment policies or the system needs to rethink the training and contractual arrangements for those specifically tracked to teach the kinds of courses part-time faculty members are typically employed to teach.

II. General Policies and Guidelines for Good Practices Necessary to Ensure the Long- Term Quality of Academic Instruction, Academic Institutions, and the Academic Profession

Although higher education in the united states is generally viewed as a single system, it is really quite diverse. Excellence is achieved in a variety of kinds of institutions and by disciplines and programs with diverse approaches, and the use of different kinds of faculty is appropriate in different settings. The diversity of this system consists of the varied strengths and contributions of distinct colleges and universities that are complexly interconnected and interdependent. A change in one part of the system has effects in other parts. All parts of the system share the students that institutions enroll and the common goal of providing quality learning experiences for these students. Responsible faculty and institutions in the system are aware of and must take seriously the need to control costs within their institutions and should examine where savings can be made and resources leveraged in ways that do not compromise educational quality. Therefore, efforts to reform higher education, and especially to provide cost-effective programs, must be carefully designed to ensure that the costs (both direct expenditures and unintended consequences for educational quality, such as lengthening of time to degree and so forth) are not simply shifted from upper division to lower division. Section A below expands on the various parts of the system; section B lists specific good practices.

A. General Policies

Faculty, institutions, disciplinary societies, accrediting societies, and governmental agencies need to maintain excellence in academic instruction with careful attention to cost-effectiveness.

In each of the system’s colleges and universities, good faculty are aware of institutional missions and goals and within that framework seek to achieve the best learning environment. This requires that permanent faculty teach introductory as well as advanced courses and supervise and evaluate the teaching done by part-time and adjunct faculty members and graduate assistants. Such evaluation should parallel that used for tenure- track faculty.

Graduate programs can no longer prepare doctoral students exclusively for careers in research universities and continue to convey the message that success comes only in being a tenured professor. This change must emphasize attitudinal shifts and altered programmatic offerings. Graduate programs must make students aware of the many kinds of opportunities available for professionally trained Ph.D.’s (within and outside the academy) and provide relevant training. Departments and institutions should reexamine graduate programs to ensure that they offer the highest quality training in analysis and pedagogical methods and that they are responsive to curricular trends and available positions. Too often the highest enrollments of graduate students are in areas that have the largest supply of available candidates for academic positions. Rather, the size of doctoral programs should be determined by educational purposes, and not by the need for teaching assistant slots or the amount of state aid to be garnered per graduate student enrollment.

Individual institutions should adopt and support the good practices recommended below, and support their encouragement by institutionally based associations and accrediting societies. Institutions should appoint faculty who are particularly well qualified for their diverse tasks and programs. This will involve clearly defining the relationship between permanent and temporary and part-time faculty, and between each faculty category and the curricular program. These goals will also require institutions to examine their educational programs, student and faculty needs, and economic requirements in order to establish reasonable ratios between permanent full-time, temporary, and part-time faculty, and to monitor departmental practices to ensure that all of these needs are met consistently.

One practice that will help to secure good planning and reasonable balance among faculty is for all institutional funding formulas (and grant budgets) to treat as a single figure the combined salary and benefits sums to be allocated per faculty appointment, whether permanent full-time or part-time temporary. Using a combined salary-and-benefits number will facilitate many of the good practices suggested below.

Institutional evaluation procedures should encompass both programs and individuals (for individuals, see the action agenda in part III). Higher education institutional procedures for evaluation of departments and programs should be commensurate with the procedures developed over recent decades for evaluating tenure-track and tenured faculty members, and should focus on ensuring that program and departmental missions and goals are fulfilled. When evaluating the effectiveness of programs, institutions should ask whether and how departments are fulfilling their mission in both undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as the fit between them. Full disclosure of the effectiveness of both undergraduate and graduate programs should include public information on the number of majors, the number of doctoral recipients the program has produced, as well as the placement of doctoral recipients (numbers and kinds of placement) and the numbers and kinds of hires made by the home department. This information should be made widely available to potential students and their parents.

Disciplinary societies and professional accrediting societies should also commend these good practices and encourage members to understand their common benefits. Working with departments throughout the entire range of educational institutions represented by their constituencies, disciplinary societies should not only help to ensure individual departmental observance of the good practices listed below, but should also make individual departments aware of and participants in larger planning processes that recognize the interrelatedness of institutions within a single system of higher education.

A number of issues would benefit from coherent planning and broad-based, cross- institutional discussions. These issues include the size of graduate programs, the treatment of teaching assistant opportunities (in terms of apprenticeship aspects as well as coverage in certain types of courses, often offered at the lower-division level), the relationship of graduate to undergraduate programs and goals, the place of part-time and adjunct faculty in the programmatic achievement of institutional missions, and so on.

Additional short- and long-term responsibilities for scholarly associations are identified in part III.

Regional accrediting associations should assess more carefully the impact of reliance on part-time and adjunct faculty on undergraduate instruction and adjust their recommended standards and institutional review procedures to ensure that cost-driven reliance on part- time faculty does not diminish the quality of undergraduate instruction and learning, or inadvertently shift costs to other parts of the university.

State government higher education authorities and boards of trustees for both public and private institutions should review the growing dependence on part-time faculty and reconsider its cost-effectiveness. More specifically, in consultation with institutions and faculties, state governments and boards should consider establishing funding disincentives or caps to discourage overreliance on part-time faculty for undergraduate instruction. State governments and boards also should consider establishing minimum salary and fringe benefits provisions for part-time faculty to ensure fair employment and consistent emphasis on quality instruction at all levels, from lower division through graduate instruction.

B. Guidelines for Good Practices The excellence of instruction in institutions that employ part-time and adjunct faculty include:

  • Selection and hiring based on clear criteria with standards commensurate with the assignment and the institution’s mission.
  • Active recruitment and selection of the best available candidates, and efforts to maximize the employment of individual part-time faculty members, rather than fragmenting assignments to employ more individuals.
  • Assurance that part-time faculty will be considered fairly for tenure-track opportunities for which they are qualified.
  • Long-term planning whenever possible, to provide for extended terms of appointment consistent with institutional needs, thereby also providing sufficient job security to encourage and support continuing involvement with students and colleagues.
  • Careful consideration of institutional missions, needs, and practices, which vary widely. There is no single fixed ratio of full- to part-time faculty suited to all circumstances. Accordingly, the faculty and administration of each institution should systematically review the institution’s practices regarding part-time faculty with respect to the institution’s particular circumstances to ensure that employment of part-time faculty is based on educational goals, not simply economic interests.
  • Provision with each appointment of a clear contractual statement of expectations and assignments including in-class teaching and such other responsibilities as course preparation, student advisement, and service.
  • Sufficient notice of appointment or reappointment to enable adequate course preparation.
  • Provision of orientation, mentoring, and professional support and development opportunities (including campus grant programs, access to sabbatical opportunities, support for travel for research, and support to present work at professional conferences).
  • Provision of appropriate working conditions essential to perform assigned responsibilities, ranging from office space, supplies, support services, equipment (for example, telephone and computer access), parking permits, library access, after-hours access to buildings, e-mail accounts, and the like.
  • Equitable provision of salary based on a standardized salary policy that remunerates for commensurate qualifications and is indexed to full-time faculty salaries (aiming for pro rata compensation) rather than per-course-hour rates.
  • Access to fringe benefits (especially health and life insurance, sick leave, and retirement plans).
  • Opportunity for professional advancement, including merit increases and promotion.
  • Regular evaluation based on established criteria consistent with responsibilities.
  • An opportunity for appeal or grievance in the event of allegedly substantial violations of procedure, discrimination, or denial of academic freedom.
  • Integration in collegial processes (including governance) related to contractual responsibilities for teaching and curricular planning.
  • Access to all regular departmental communication.

III. Action Agenda

A. Actions to Encourage Implementation of Good Practices

The representatives of the ten associations that participated in the formulation of this statement and the Conference on the Growing Use of Part-Time and Adjunct Faculty want to encourage the implementation of the good practices developed above.

First, we seek to ensure the broadest possible distribution of this statement through the following steps:

  • Issuing a press release about the significance of a coalition of associations expressing concern about the increasing use of part-time and adjunct faculty appointments and its implications for the continued quality of higher education’s instructional programs.
  • Forwarding this statement to the governing bodies of our respective associations and urging them to discuss, accept, and endorse this statement.
  • Working within our associations to foster discussion on these issues among all member constituencies in roundtables, plenary sessions, and department chair meetings at our national and regional meetings.
  • Transmitting this statement to chairs of university and faculty senates, college and university presidents, system chancellors, and boards of trustees and visitors.

Second, faculties within community colleges, four-year colleges, and universities are urged to implement good practices within their respective institutions. We recommend the following actions to our colleagues, and draw their attention back to the guidelines section for more discussion:

  • To undertake departmental review of the discretionary use of part-time faculty appointments in relation to the educational goals of the academic unit immediately affected, the college, and the university. The responsibility of full-time faculty members to teach at all levels of their programs is a key issue to be considered.
  • To ascertain the costs and the benefits of using part-time appointments for both students and full-time faculty members. The cost of shifting increasing responsibility for curriculum development, advising of students with department majors, and faculty governance to fewer full-time faculty members should also be considered.
  • To formulate explicit means of evaluating effective teaching of both full- and part-time faculty members.
  • To use collective bargaining where it currently exists (or may exist in the future) to negotiate improved practices regarding part-time appointments.
  • To reexamine the education and production of doctoral students. Questions to be considered include but are not limited to the following:
  • Whether doctoral students are being adequately prepared to teach in a variety of educational institutions and to obtain employment in nonacademic environments.
  • Whether there is full disclosure of the placement of doctoral students in both academic and nonacademic positions. n
  • Whether there is an overproduction of Ph.D.’s, and if so, what are the responsibilities of academic departments and professional associations to deal with this overproduction in a rational and ethical manner?

Third, faculties within institutions and members of professional, scholarly, and higher education associations are encouraged to develop long-term coalitions to ensure that part- time and adjunct faculty members receive professional status and compensation commensurate with their role within higher education. This coalition (or coalitions) should act

  • To seek an institutional base for continuity.
  • To obtain more accurate ways of collecting data on part-time faculty members.
  • To work in conjunction with campus and system researchers, the larger research community, and interested federal and state agencies (particularly the U.S. departments of education and labor) to develop better data regarding the types and distributions of academic appointments, including definitions and methodologies suitable for shared use among concerned parties.
  • To work for labor equity and fair employment practices for colleagues who hold part- time and adjunct faculty appointments in our institutions.
  • To formulate statements of good practice regarding part-time and adjunct faculty appointments that would then be transmitted up the institutional hierarchy to governmental bodies with oversight of institutions of higher education for their consideration and response.
  • To collaborate with accrediting associations to secure the implementation of good practices regarding the use of part-time and adjunct faculty appointments and the exercise of enforcement mechanisms where such practices do not occur.
  • To undertake a wide variety of strategies to apprise the general public of the use of part-time and adjunct faculty appointments. One suggestion is to identify institutions in which good practices exist and to publicize some as case studies. The publicity might take the form of an annually revised list of model institutions that would be released to the popular press.
  • To define the appropriate ratio between full- and part-time faculty appointments that would ensure quality education with due consideration of the diversity among disciplines and among institutions of higher education and then to reconsider this ratio at stated intervals with respect to the rapidly changing conditions within higher education.
  • To integrate more fully the many types of institutions and their faculties now providing higher education, especially community colleges, within our professional associations.


1. U.S. Department of Education (USDE)/National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Fall Staff in Postsecondary Institutions, 1993 (Washington, D.C., 1996), 24-25; the two surveys in USDE/NCES, 1993 National Study of Postsecondary Faculty: Methodology Report (Washington, D.C., 1997) in fall 1992 found 42 and 43 percent.

2. USDE/NCES, Fall Staff, 24-25.

3. Ibid.

4. Ernst Benjamin, “Faculty Appointments: An Overview of the Data,” Table 2, derived from USDE/NCES,Fall Staff (background paper prepared for the Conference on the Growing Use of Part-Time and Adjunct Faculty, Washington, D.C., September 26-28, 1997).

5. Benjamin, “Faculty Appointments.”

6. See Judith M. Gappa and David W. Leslie, The Invisible Faculty: Improving the Status of Part-Timers in Higher Education (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc., 1993) for information about professional credentials and work; see National Education Association (NEA), “Part-Time Employment in Academe,” NEA Higher Education Research Center Update 3 (January 1997) for data on degrees.

7. NEA, “Part-Time Employment in Academe.”

8. Charlotte Kuh, “Part-Time and Non-Tenure-Track Ph.D.’s: A Statistical Look” (background paper prepared for the Conference on the Growing Use of Part-Time and Adjunct Faculty, Washington, D.C., September 26-28, 1997).

9. Ibid.

10. NEA, “Part-Time Employment in Academe.”

11. John E. Roueche, Suanne D. Roueche, and Mark D. Milliron, Strangers in Their Own Land: Part-Time Faculty in American Community Colleges (Washington, D.C.: American Association of Community Colleges, 1997).

12. USDE/NCES, Fall Staff.

13. Kuh, “Part-Time and Non-Tenure-Track Ph.D.’s.”

14. Benjamin, “Faculty Appointments.”

15. Ibid.

16. Gary W. Reichard, “Part-Time Faculty in Research Universities: Problems and Prospects” (background paper prepared for the Conference on the Growing Use of Part- Time and Adjunct Faculty, Washington, D.C., September 26-28, 1997); Jane Harper, “The Growing Part-Time/Adjunct Professoriat: Its Impact on Educational Quality” (background paper prepared for the Conference on the Growing Use of Part-Time and Adjunct Faculty, Washington, D.C., September 26-28, 1997); and Julia Kirk Blackwelder, “Staffing Issues: Reasons for and against the Employment of Part-Time and Adjunct Faculty” (background paper prepared for the Conference on the Growing Use of Part-Time and Adjunct Faculty, Washington, D.C., September 26-28, 1997).

17. David Adamany, “A University President Reflects on the Role of Adjunct Faculty in the Contemporary Research University” (background paper prepared for the Conference on the Growing Use of Part-Time and Adjunct Faculty, Washington, D.C., September 26- 28, 1997).