College Teaching Jobs Forecast
Competition for tenure-track positions is expected to be high, as colleges and universities continue to move away from these positions and toward adjunct and part-time positions. Opportunities are expected to be good for part-time or adjunct professors.
This comes as no surprise to me. Cost is a key factor. On a per class basis, full-time instructors cost colleges more than adjuncts. What the Bureau does not address is the implication for adjuncts is both good and bad, something I will explain later in this article.
College Teaching Jobs by Discipline
This table presents data compiled by the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau’s college teaching jobs data is organized alphabetically, but I have taken the liberty of reorganizing it by number of jobs in the given disciplines.
Adjunct Impact on the Quality of Instruction
This is a highly controversial subject. Most tenured faculty members oppose the shift from full-time to part-time instructors on the basis that the overall quality of instruction is compromised. However, colleges’ greatest instructional expenses are instructor salaries and benefits. This is the driver that will continue to swing the pendulum toward more and more adjuncts.
In my experience, there are good and bad full-time instructors as well as and part-time instructors. And also from my experience, there is a greater percentage of good full-time college instructors than good adjunct instructors. So, is the overall quality of college instruction on the decline? I prefer to think not, but that concern only makes good college adjuncts a more valued commodity for college teaching jobs.
Advice for Adjuncts Seeking Teaching Jobs
I offer the following advice for adjuncts seeking college teaching jobs:
- Continuously work to improve your teaching skills.
- Take full advantage of support offered by the college where you teach.
Advice for Colleges Hiring Adjuncts
I do not know how many college administrators follow this website, but for those who do I suggest:
- Continuously invest in your adjuncts by providing new and improved support systems.
- Involve your experienced full-time faculty in training and mentoring adjuncts.
This must not be a one-time training program. It needs to be part of an ongoing continuous quality improvement initiative. Some full-time faculty members may be reticent to help adjuncts, but consider one of my own research findings. Most college instructors will support continuous quality improvement activities if they see what is in it for them.
Hummel, P. (2005). An explanation of continuous quality improvement practices by college faculty. (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 3185438)