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.
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.
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.
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.
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.