Monday, August 20, 2007

Teaching Part Time

Many of our grad students look forward to teaching writing full time at community colleges once they have their MAs and MFAs, despite Oregon's poor funding situation for higher education right now. The tight funding means that community colleges continue to hire more part time faculty than tenure line faculty, because that's cheaper. But a new report described by — Scott Jaschik from Inside Higher Ed on student retention shows that the higher the percentage of full-time faculty, the better the student retention rate.
While the use of adjuncts is widespread and growing in all sectors of higher education, it is particularly prevalent at two-year institutions. In many cases, community colleges seek out part-timers who are professionals in various fields to teach career-related courses. But community colleges also fill many sections (a majority in some subject areas on some campuses) with part timers. Administrators frequently say that given their institutions’ enrollment growth and tight budgets, they have little choice.
Here's another excerpt on the article from Laura's blog on the subject. I wonder if this new study will have the effect of changing hiring patterns.

When I taught part-time at Rogue Community College in southern Oregon, the percentage of part-time faculty in the Humanities department was 70%. We all loved what we were doing and worked really hard and longed for tenured positions, which were not open. We used to say that if the part-time faculty went on strike, the college would have to close. Everyone admitted that the situation was not the best, but the tight budgets kept everything going the same, year after year.



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