Spotlight on Contingent Faculty
Colleges and universities are relying heavily on contingent faculty—part-and full-time faculty who are appointed off the tenure track—to increase flexibility and reduce costs. These resources explore this trend to determine where contingent faculty are most often hired and savings actually result in lower overall costs.
Blog and Infographics
Trade-offs of Increasing Contingent Faculty (2017)
U.S. colleges and universities are increasingly hiring contingent faculty, or full- and part-time faculty who work on contract. While institutions say doing so saves money, two studies by the Delta Cost Project at AIR find the strategy has not translated into a large overall savings. In this blog post, Deanna Hill and Steve Hurlburt share these results and consider whether long-term unintended consequences may off-set short-term cost savings. Read the blog and view all the infographics.
Briefs and Reports
The Shifting Academic Workforce: Where Are the Contingent Faculty? (2016)
Contingent faculty—that is, full- and part-time instructors not on the tenure track—now comprise the majority of all faculty at U.S. colleges and universities. The first of a two-part series, the goal of this brief is to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the landscape surrounding changes to the academic workforce, and to identify whether contingent faculty are more likely to be employed in certain types of institutions.
Cost Savings or Cost Shifting? The Relationship Between Part-Time Contingent Faculty and Institutional Spending (2016)
Colleges and universities are relying heavily on contingent faculty to increase flexibility and reduce costs, yet little is known about whether such savings actually result in lower overall costs or if the money saved on instruction is being spent in other areas. This second brief in a two-part series documents the financial trade-offs being made by institutions as they hire more part-time contingent faculty.
Labor Intensive or Labor Expensive? Changing Staffing and Compensation Patterns in Higher Education (2014)
Skyrocketing college tuitions and trillion-dollar student loan debt have put college and university spending in the spotlight. "Labor Intensive or Labor Expensive? Changing Staffing and Compensation Patterns in Higher Education," a report by the Delta Cost Project at AIR, finds that colleges and universities increasingly rely on part-time faculty to meet instructional demands and rein in costs, but rising benefit costs and increased hiring for other types of positions have undercut those savings.