Good article in the NY…

Good article in the NY Times on decline of the tenure track. I'm most concerned by this bit:

Dr. Ehrenberg and a colleague analyzed 15 years of national data and found that graduation rates declined when public universities hired large numbers of contingent faculty.

Several studies of individual universities have determined that freshmen taught by many part-timers were more likely to drop out

I know the state universities are strapped for cash, but hiring tons of adjuncts is just not a good solution. As someone who's both adjuncted and been full-time as a Visiting Professor (not tenure-track, but close in terms of salary/teaching load), I can promise you, when I was adjuncting, I was on campus at lot less often, and was much less available to my students. I just didn't have the time -- I had to teach too many classes at too low a pay rate to make my rent payments.

The year at Utah whe I was an adjunct professor, I taught 4:4:2 (four in the fall, four in the spring, and two in the summer), for $28,000 + benefits. (And I was damned lucky to get the benefits -- most adjuncts don't, and have to teach at multiple places because the university can't hire them full-time without giving them benefits, so add in a lot of driving time.) Compare that to a tenure-track person there -- they'd likely be teaching 3:2 at worst, more likely 2:2 or even something like Kevin's current 2:1. And starting salary would be closer to $45,000 + benefits. There's a lot more time for your students then!

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