Non–Tenure–Track Faculty in Higher Education: Theories and Tensions. ASHE Higher Education Report, 36:5. J–B ASHE Higher Education Report Series (AEHE)

  • ID: 2239451
  • Book
  • 152 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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American faculty are changing. Approximately 65 percent of all faculty now being appointed are nontenure track. Despite these changes, many higher education institutions still operate as though tenure–track faculty are the norm and non–tenure–track faculty are a supplementary workforce. This monograph highlights practical and empirical tensions, reviewing theories and frameworks that have been applied to the study of non–tenure–track faculty in an attempt to better understand their emergence, experience, and outcomes.

It also reviews the literature about key tensions that emerge because of the development of this new group of faculty:

  • Is tenure still relevant and important?
  • Can tenure–track and non–tenure–track faculty find shared interests to collectively create change?
  • Can non–tenure–track faculty overcome competition that prevents them from working together meaningfully?
  • Why is the research on the institutional and student impacts of non–tenure–track faculty so mixed?
  • Does empirical research address stereotypes about non–tenure–track faculty and how can it be spread more widely to imporve institutional decision making?
  • What future research is needed to guide policy?

As a guide to the trends and research in non–tenure track faculty, this is an invaluable review for administrators and faculty who want to make better–informed decisions about staffing.

This is the fifth issue in the 36th volume of the Jossey–Bass series ASHE Higher Education Report. Each monograph in the series is the definitive analysis of a tough higher education problem, based on thorough research of pertinent literature and institutional experiences. Topics are identified by a national survey. Noted practitioners and scholars are then commissioned to write the reports, with experts providing critical reviews of each manuscript before publication.

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Executive Summary.



Introduction and Overview.

Need for the Monograph.

Purpose and Audience.


Background: Understanding the Conflicting Research.

Introduction to the Players: Groups Studying Non–Tenure–Track Faculty.

Organization of the Monograph.

Theories Used to Study and Understand Non–Tenure–Track Faculty.

Economic Theories.

Sociological Theories.

Psychological and Social Psychological Theories.

Organizational Theory.

Labor Relations Theory.



Ideological Tensions.

Practical Tensions.

Empirical Tensions.


Conclusions and Suggestions for Further Research.

Overall Conclusions and Implications.

Future Research.




Name Index.

Subject Index.

About the Authors.

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Adrianna Kezar has been associate professor for higher education at theUniversity of Southern California since 2003. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in higher education administration from the University of Michigan. She was formerly editor of the ASHE–ERIC Higher Education Report Series from 1996 to 2004. Kezar has published more than seventy–five journal articles, fifty book chapters, and twelve books. Recent books include:Recognizing and Serving Low–Income Students in Higher Education (Routledge Press, 2011) andRedesigning for Collaboration in Higher Education (Jossey–Bass, 2009).

Kezar has also served on several editorial boards and received national awards for her commitment and leadership.

Cecile Sam is a doctoral candidate in higher education policy at the Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis at the University of Southern California. Her research interests include leadership and organization theory as applied to faculty work in higher education, with a special interest in ethics.

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