Tenure Goes the Way of the Typewriter

Part-timers dominate university teaching ranks, raising questions of quality
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2007 11:12 AM CST
Alan Blinder, professor at Princeton University Economics Department and a former member of the Council of Economic Advisors, left. Michael Boskin, Professor/ Senior Fellow at Stanford, right. (PAR109367)   (Magnum Photos)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Tenured professors are looking rarer than motivated students on college campuses these days. To save money and allow greater flexibility, universities are loading up on part-time instructors, a trend some worry is lowering educational quality. Part-timers are less likely to have doctorates and, as they bounce from university to university, have less time to prepare or meet with students, the Times reports.

The trend is especially pronounced at community colleges and less exclusive public institutions. “Really, we are offering less educational quality to the students who need it most,” said one Cornell education researcher. A backlash is brewing: In 11 states, academics are lobbying for laws mandating that 75% of classes be taught by tenured or tenure-track profs.