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Reports from Policy Analysts

Report on Contingent Faculty in Higher Education

Submitted On: Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Analyst: Melzer, Dan

The American Institute for Research has published the report The Shifting Academic Workforce: Where Are the Contingent Faculty? The report states that contingent faculty are now the majority of all faculty at U.S. colleges and universities. By 2013, contingent faculty accounted for at least half of all instructional faculty across all types of institutions, ranging from 50% at public research universities to more than 80% at public community colleges. According to the report, part-time positions of one year or less make up the largest share of non-tenure-track positions at all types of institutions, ranging from 19% of all faculty positions at public research institutions to 50% of all faculty positions at community colleges. Colleges and universities with higher shares of students at risk of noncompletion also have higher shares of  contingent faculty.

This increasing reliance on contingent faculty is contrary to the NCTE Position Statement on the Status and Working Conditions of Contingent Faculty, which argues for long-term security of employment for writing instructors. The statement can be found at:


Academic Level

Higher Education



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