The use of contingent/adjunct/part-time faculty is an accepted practice in
LIS education. Part-time/adjunct faculty add value to LIS programs by
teaching special elective courses, bringing the latest in practice to the
classroom, and contributing in many ways to the future education of LIS
and IS professionals. Within the broader context of higher education, what
do we in LIS education know about part-time faculty?
Tenure, RIP: What the Vanishing Status Means for the Future of Education, is a
July 4, 2010 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The article reports
on the US DOE report "Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2009."
What are the specific implications for LIS/IS education regarding the use
of part-time/contingent/adjunct faculty? What improvements and support
systems are needed for part-time faculty in LIS? Is it time to examine LIS
and the adjunct faculty member? Below are a few snippets from the CHE
article that should generate interest for a purposeful conversation on the
From the article: "Over just three decades, the proportion of college
instructors who are tenured or on the tenure track plummeted: from 57 percent
in 1975 to 31 percent in 2007. The new report is expected to show that that
proportion fell even further in 2009, dropping below one-third. If you add
graduate teaching assistants to the mix, those with some kind of tenure status
represent a mere quarter of all instructors.
The idea that tenure, a defining feature of U.S. higher education throughout
the 20th century, has shrunk so drastically is shocking. But, says Stanley N.
Katz, director of Princeton University's Center for Arts and Cultural Policy
Studies, 'we may be approaching a situation in which there will not be good,
tenure-track jobs for the great majority of good people.'"
The article continues by discussing what this trend means for students and
student success, research, and an increasing tentativeness of faculty-- that
faculty no longer speak up: "says Mr. Nelson. "You can say what you want to
about your subject matter, but don't think you can say what you want to about
the president's edicts." Indeed, what's disappearing along with tenure, say its
advocates, is the ability of professors to play a strong role in running their
universities and to object if they think officials are making bad decisions."
For those applauding the death of tenure, there is this: "Not everyone is
mourning the decline of tenure, though. Cathy Trower, a senior research
associate at Harvard University who has studied tenure for about a dozen years
at the institution's Graduate School of Education, says tenure's harsh
up-or-out systemand the escalating demands for research and publication at the
nation's top universitiesis actually driving away talented young people. 'More
and more men and women are saying, I don't want to be on that fast track," says
Ms. Trower, who has studied 11,000 tenure-track professors at the nation's
research universities. "Many are saying, This system is broken, I don't want
The article ends: "But higher-education watchers don't hold out much hope that
the numbers on tenure will turn around. 'In the end, these are financial
decisions, and they are very hard to reverse," says Frank J. Donoghue, an
associate professor of English at Ohio State University who writes about the
professoriate. "Once a university opens the door to staffing courses with
adjuncts, they save so much money it's almost unthinkable for them to stop.'"
The Part Time/Adjunct Faculty SIG of ALISE should find this recent
article in the CHE interesting. For those who are not members of ALISE,
you may find this article of interest as well. Perhaps a conversation can
begin that would be beneficial to all regarding the part-time
issue. Because of copyright laws, distributing the full text of the
article over an electronic mailing list is inappropriate. The full
citation of the article is: " Robin Wilson, "Tenure, RIP: What the
Vanishing Status Means for the Future of Education," Chronicle of Higher
Education, July 4, 2010.
See this from the AAUP for additional background and information:
and this announcement regarding a conference: Conference on Contingent Academic
August 13-15, 2010
Just sending fyi and not in any official or institutional role ...
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