Majority of Adjunct Faculty Older, Unhappy Untenured

, Accuracy in Academia, Leave a comment

The TIAA Institute published a national survey last week of over five-hundred adjunct faculty members. Adjunct faculty, or “adjuncts” for short, are often part-time, non-tenure track professors who teach up to two classes per academic semester. Some have professional work experience, while others are academics whom have a Master’s degree or a doctorate.

The survey discovered that the majority of adjuncts are over the age of forty, and they mostly teach at one university or college. The TIAA Institute noted these findings debunk the “common perceptions that faculty is younger and teach at multiple colleges while pursuing a tenure-track position.” Adjuncts who are under forty years of age, and have doctorates, have higher levels of dissatisfaction with their academic careers than other age ranges and education levels.

When asked, half of survey respondents said they would prefer to have a tenure-track position, meaning being employed full-time and have a full load of classes and time for research. Additionally, ten percent would prefer the full-time, non-tenure track faculty position, with a quarter of the respondents saying they like being adjuncts. On average, adjuncts are paid an average of $3,000 per course, but as averages go, it means a good amount of adjuncts are not paid that amount. The survey results indicated sixty percent of adjuncts are paid less than $3,000 per course.

According to the results, fifty-six percent of respondents have a master’s degree, while thirty-three percent have a doctorate. Also, fifty-two percent teach one of two courses at a single university or college campus. Less than a quarter (twenty-two percent) teach three or more classes at two or more campuses and higher education institutions.