Abstract

Over a period of several decades, non-tenure-track faculty members (NTTF) have become a majority of instructional faculty among nonprofit higher education institutions. A growing volume of research points to a relationship between the poor working conditions or lack of support these faculty members often experience and adverse effects on student learning outcomes. Research also suggests there is limited awareness about the rising numbers of NTTFs and nature of these problems. This study utilized a modified Policy Delphi approach to surface and examine the perspectives of approximately 40 individuals representing a broad range of higher education stakeholder groups (e.g., boards, accreditation agencies, unions) about the causes and implications of rising contingency in the academic workforce. The findings suggest that awareness about how NTTF practices are inefficient and misaligned with stakeholders’ common commitments to student learning and the health of the academic profession has the potential to facilitate change. However, conditions were also identified that are currently obstacles for change. This study contributes to a better understanding of factors influencing change in higher education and suggests how a set of resonant values and interests may be evoked by change agents to increase awareness and support for revising or replacing existing NTTF practices.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4640
Print ISSN
0022-1546
Pages
pp. 564-594
Launched on MUSE
2015-06-19
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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