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Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 45.3 (2002) 449-456

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Essay Review

Teaching Without Tenure

Judith M. Gappa

Roger G. Baldwin and Jay L. Chronister. Teaching Without Tenure: Policies and Practices for a New Era. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2001. Pp. 224. $32.30.

FACULTY MEMBERS IN COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES are divided into two groups: those who are tenured or on "tenure track" and those who are not. Today most faculty are no longer tenured or tenure eligible. Forty-two percent of all faculty members are part-time, and another 28 percent are in full-time, non-tenure-eligible positions. Baldwin and Chronister's Teaching Without Tenure takes an in-depth look at the employment of full-time, non-tenure-track faculty.

Teaching Without Tenure fills an important niche in the literature on college and university faculty careers and employment arrangements. Beginning with Bowen and Schuster's American Professors: A National Resource Imperiled (1986), numerous publications and reports have raised concerns about faculty employment. Some researchers have narrowed their examination of faculty careers to particular disciplines, such as the traditional liberal arts, or to specific career stages, such as the tenure-track probationary period. Others have concentrated on the rapid growth of part-time faculty. But very few have examined the phenomenon of full-time non-tenure-track (FTNTT) appointments. Baldwin and Chronister surveyed 84 higher education institutions, analyzed institutional [End Page 449] policy documents such as faculty handbooks, and conducted site visits at 12 four-year colleges and universities. Teaching Without Tenure reports the results of their research and makes recommendations regarding policies and practices for the employment of FTNTT faculty.

The authors conclude that career alternatives are needed to supplement the standard tenure model in order to accommodate the needs of a diverse academic profession and of institutions trying to balance complex and competing demands within their available resources. They do not recommend that tenure be abolished or that the standard model of the academic career be eliminated; they simply think it should be supplemented with viable alternatives in order to meet the needs of a more diverse constituency of potential faculty members. This view is consistent with the opinions of others who have studied trends related to tenure and the academic career. Breneman (1997), Chait and Trower (1997), and I (Gappa 1996) have all suggested that a flexible faculty appointment system is essential in an environment of dynamic change.

Teaching Without Tenure provides a handy framework for exploring some of the major faculty employment issues. The authors begin by reviewing earlier studies of the faculty career and describing the internal and external contexts for changing faculty employment. This useful overview sets the stage for the remainder of the book, which systematically reports the results of the authors' research, stressing models of good practice.

Chapter 3 discusses terms and conditions of FTNTT employment: similarities and differences between FTNTT and tenure-track faculty roles and responsibilities; lengths of contracts and contract renewal policies; hiring policies; ranks and titles; teaching workloads; participation in governance; evaluation procedures; support for professional development; and academic freedom. Baldwin and Chronister summarize the differences in FTNTT employment policies and practices in terms of three models that cover the range of FTNTT employment practices: the marginalized, the integrated, and the alternative career.

The marginalized model depicts faculty employment where the intent of the institution is to utilize FTNTT faculty as a cost-saving resource and to maintain maximum staffing flexibility. The employment of FTNTT faculty under this model most closely resembles that of the treatment of part-time faculty described in The Invisible Faculty (Gappa and Leslie 1993). When FTNTT are marginalized, they are hired on annual contracts, often with the title of instructor or lecturer. They carry heavier teaching loads, have limited support for professional development, and have few rights to participate in governance. They also receive lower salaries than their tenure-track colleagues but, different from part-timers, they typically receive benefits. By contrast, the integrated model illustrates the use of FTNTT appointments for long-term staffing flexibility, cost control, and access to specialized faculty...


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