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2014 January 23

Academic Workforce Data Center

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 09:08
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The Modern Language Association (the main professional organization for humanities faculty) has an  Academic Workforce Data Center that let’s you look up what fraction of the faculty on a campus are tenured, tenure-track, full-time non-tenure, and part-time non-tenure.  They split off medical faculty from the rest, as many medical faculty are “clinical appointments”, where the majority of the faculty income comes from doing medicine, not teaching or research.

The data is from the 2009 surveys conducted by the US Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS), so is not completely current. They also have data from the 1995 IPEDS survey, but I did not copy that here.

I looked up the schools my son is applying to (excluding med school faculty) sorted by the % tenured or on the tenure track:

school % tenured % tenured or tenure-track % full-time non-tenure % part-time non-tenure
Harvey Mudd 64 81 7 12
UCSB 64.9 75.8 9.6 14.6
UCSD 56.4 72.0 33.0 19.7
Stanford 54.7 71 22.3 6.7
MIT 52.6 68.2 16.4 15.4
Brown 51.7 67.4 17.8 14.8
UCB 51.9 63.4 10.8 25.8
CMU 33.9 46.9 45.7 7.4

Of these, CMU relies the most heavily on non-tenured faculty, and UCB the most on part-timers.  Harvey Mudd seems to be the most traditional, relying on full-time tenure-track faculty.

I’ve also extracted the data for all the UC campuses (except UCSF, which is a med school only):

school % tenured % tenured or tenure-track % full-time non-tenure % part-time non-tenure
UCSB 64.9 75.8 9.6 14.6
UCD 59.6 74.5 27.5 13.5
UCR 52.0 72.3 11.1 16.6
UCI 54.7 72.1 8.5 19.4
UCSD 56.4 72.0 33.0 19.7
UCLA 54.8 64.7 13.0 22.3
UCB 51.9 63.4 10.8 25.8
UCSC 47.5 62.6 6.1 31.3
UCM 20.9 53.6 30.4 15.9

Merced is somewhat understandably at the bottom, because they are a new campus that has not yet managed to grow its faculty to a reasonable level. But UCSC has no excuse for relying on so many part-time faculty—we’re probably the most understaffed UC campus for full-time faculty (tenure-track or not).

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  1. An eye-opening data set. But, I think for the purposes of knowing the experience as a student, part of what one might need to know is how many faculty there are and what role the tenure/track v part time play in the lives of students. Say, for example (though I don’t know, and am just hypothesizing), CMU has an associated research institute with a lot of non-tenured ‘faculty” (or JPL at Caltech). Excluding medical faculty helps with the parsing of the data, but there might be other institutional faculty who are unimportant for teaching/undergraduate experience (or, the part time, non-tenured faculty could be teaching classes or the prime point of interaction for students). Those two scenarios are probably different for a student.

    Comment by bj — 2014 January 23 @ 10:15 | Reply

    • Non-tenured researchers are not usually included in “faculty” counts, unless they are doubling as part-time instructors (which happens a lot in our department). I don’t know the details of this particular data set, but the MLA site points to the IPEDS site, which should have all the methods information.

      I agree that simple numbers of tenure-track vs. non-tenure-track do not tell much about the experience of the undergrad students. They do say a lot about how the administration treat the faculty—especially places that have a lot of part-time “freeway flyers”. Universities that exploit their faculty are generally not the best places to get an education (though some might be attractive if the price is low enough, just as many people shop at exploitative stores like Walmart). None of the places my son is applying are cheap (UC used to be, but the state legislature and short-sighted public initiatives have made sure that education will never be funded at a reasonable level in California again), so I’d rather not be supporting an exploitative college administration.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2014 January 23 @ 10:53 | Reply

  2. One other thing to consider would be the mix of programs at each school. Some accrediting bodies (including those for law, counseling & business) have very strict rules about the use of part-time and non-tenure track faculty. Beyond affecting these percentages, it could mean that the rate at which your son is taught by non-tenure track faculty does not match the rates reported to IPEDS.

    Comment by Matthew — 2014 January 23 @ 17:06 | Reply

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