John Curtis of the AAUP Research Office was kind enough to provide me with their current compilation of government figures on instructional staff in the U.S.
|1975||1995||2007||% Change 1975-2007|
|Full-Time Tenure Track||16.1%
|Grad Student Employees||20.5%
|of which contingent staff:||54.9%
(This data comes from the IPEDS Fall Staff Survey. The AAUP notes as follows: “Figures for 2005 and 2007 may not be exactly comparable with previous years, due to a change in the type of institutions included in totals. Grad student figure in 1975 column is for 1976. Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.”)
There are three important things to learn here. (1) The current fraction of contingent instructional labor in U.S. higher education is just about 75% by these figures. (2) Contingents (i.e. everyone who’s not tenured or tenure-track) have grown enormously since 1975, but it’s important to note that even in 1975 they were already more than half the academic teaching workforce. As I wrote in my earlier post, even the golden age wasn’t that golden. (3) Interestingly enough, while the tenured faculty has grown noticeably over the last 35 years, the tenure-track faculty (assistant professors) have barely grown at all, even in absolute terms. In other words, as people on the existing tenure track have gotten tenure (or alternatively failed to get tenure and hence gotten fired), they haven’t been replaced by new tenure track slots.
In sum, nothing too surprising here, but it’s useful to have the figures handy.
3 thoughts on “Figures on American faculty workers”
Hmm… the one thing that really surprises me about those stats is the almost completely steady percentage of “grad student employees” (stagnant at 20% from 1975 to 2007). Of course, we’re not seeing a great number of years in the data, but that is nonetheless surprising if the percentage really does hold steady over a 30+ year period. I would have assumed that “grad student employees” would have taken up at least a little of the slack from the “tenured” and “tenure track” reductions. It would seem that those reductions have all gone to either adjuncts, lecturers, or instructors, though.
Yeah, that *is* surprising now that I think of it. I’ll have to look into that a bit, in light of the common impression that intro classes are increasingly taught by grad students…. Perhaps grad students taught freshman comp even in the 70s?
(Incidentally, there actually were a few more years in the original data I had, but I condensed it for presentation here. Happy to send you the spreadsheet if you want.)
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