Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Goodbye, tenure-track faculty

I'm not sure what to make of this:
Every other year, data released by the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics provide a snapshot of the growth of part-time positions in the professoriate. This year — an off-year for that data — the federal statistics provide evidence for another shift, in which the majority of full-time professional employees in higher education are in administrative rather than faculty job.

So I guess we tenure track faculty are now a minority in the academy. Could it be that we're also an endangered species? It's certainly odd to think about universities as places not abounding in professors (at least, as the term has tended to be understood).

I wonder: is this the university's version of the widening gap between the rich and the poor, or between the administrative class and an increasingly "casualized" workforce (for whom there is nothing casual about their labors)? Are tenure tack faculty getting "compressed" out of existence, given how cuts in state education budgets, combined with increasingly high administrative salaries, would seem to demand a more "flexible" workforce at the bottom? For any economists out there who may be reading, please chime in anytime....

For more on the global distribution of wealth, see my previous entry, below. And for the complete story about the changing shape of university employment, check out today's Inside Higher Ed.

No comments: