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Understanding Key Stakeholder Belief Systems or Institutional Logics Related to Non-Tenure-Track Faculty and the Changing Professoriate


by Adrianna Kezar & Daniel Maxey — 2014

Background/context: Over the past 40 years, the composition of the professoriate has changed substantially across all institutional types. Once predominantly tenure track, now nontenure-track faculty (NTTF) constitute more than 70% of the faculty. While these major changes have occurred, we know little about key stakeholders’ views (accreditors, policy makers, presidents) of these changes.

Purpose: In this article, we explore the following research question: What are the beliefs systems (logics) related to the changing professoriate of the key entities within the higher education organizational field?

Population/description of participants: Thirty-five individuals from key stakeholder groups were included: accreditation agencies; disciplinary societies; faculty stakeholder groups such as New Faculty Majority; unions; state or system leadership and state compacts such as National Association of System Heads; voluntary regional consortia such as those representing deans; governing boards; and individual and institutional membership associations, including the American Council on Education and American Association of Community Colleges.

Research design: In order to better understand the perspectives of key stakeholders in higher education’s organizational field related to the nature of the professoriate, we conducted a modified Policy Delphi study.

Findings: The findings indicate one of the major reasons that the organizational field did not provide a shield to the decline of tenure or mobilize to combat the deteriorating conditions of nontenure-track faculty is because no new decided upon logic has been created as it relates to the professoriate. Great disagreement exists about what the future professoriate should look like and the four distinctive views are presented.

Conclusions: There is some opportunity for consensus and mobilization around two key points: (a) All groups believe the current three-tiered model (shrinking tenure track, large part time, and full-time nontenure track) is not working; and (b) there is broad consensus about a few principles for a new model such as greater job security, shared governance, greater academic freedom than most faculty currently have, and more focus on the educational function of faculty.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 116 Number 10, 2014, p. 1-42
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17606, Date Accessed: 10/23/2017 8:34:12 PM

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About the Author
  • Adrianna Kezar
    University of Southern California
    E-mail Author
    ADRIANNA KEZAR is professor of higher education at the University of Southern California and codirector of the Pullias Center for Higher Education. Her research interests include the changing faculty, governance, leadership and change in higher education. She has several recent books including Embracing non-tenure track faculty: Changing campuses for the new faculty majority (2012, Routledge) and Enhancing campus capacity for leadership: An Examination of grassroots leaders (Stanford Press, 2011).
  • Daniel Maxey
    University of Southern California
    E-mail Author
    DANIEL MAXEY is a doctoral student and Dean’s Fellow in Urban Education Policy at the University of Southern California’s School of Education and Pullias Center for Higher Education. His research focuses on non-tenure-track faculty, politics and policy in higher education, and governance.
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