Position Paper Tenure Versus Non-Tenure

1003 Words Mar 27th, 2010 5 Pages
Tenure vs. Nontenure: Two Tracks Diverge
In tough economic times, the number of nontenure-track faculty is rising. What are the implications of this trend?

By Mike Wright

In the faculty world, tenure is good. It's seen as an almost sacred concept that leads to the highest-quality instruction, ground-breaking research, and institutional loyalty in the nation's colleges and universities.

The trend over the last decade, however, is an increase in nontenure-track faculty on campuses across the country. This comes as enrollments continue to set records and economically troubled times strain resources.

Between 1992 and 1998, according to figures from the American Council on Education, across all institutions of higher learning in
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In many cases, it's cheaper to hire nontenure-track instructors. Another reason is the opening of clinical ranks beyond the health fields. Within the last decade, disciplines such as business, education, and even the arts and humanities have begun to assign clinical tags to some appointments.

But perhaps the main reason for the trend at IU is a 2001 policy recommended by the University Faculty Council and adopted by IU's trustees. The policy aimed to consolidate part-time positions to full-time posts, with responsibility for larger teaching loads and service work.

Tenure-track faculty: In this article, the term includes all faculty who have tenure or are what the university calls "tenure-probationary," which means they will be evaluated for tenure after a certain number of years on the job. Tenure-track faculty are categorized as professors, associate professors, and assistant professors. Their primary responsibilities include teaching, research, and service. Librarians also have tenure-track appointments. Responsibilities of tenure-track librarians include library work, research, and service.

Nontenure-track faculty: Categories include clinical faculty and lecturers, as well as acting, visiting, and adjunct appointments. Clinical and lecturer appointments are full time. As nontenure-track faculty, they are evaluated only on teaching and service.

Clinical faculty: The primary duties of clinical faculty are to teach students and residents or fellows and to

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