Monday, September 9, 2013

A sobering assertion for tenured faculty to digest

Study suggests adjunct faculty on the whole are the better teachers:

Are Tenure Track Professors Better Teachers?

David N. Figlio, Morton O. Schapiro, Kevin B. Soter

NBER Working Paper No. 19406
Issued in September 2013
NBER Program(s):   CH   ED   LS
This study makes use of detailed student-level data from eight cohorts of first-year students at Northwestern University to investigate the relative effects of tenure track/tenured versus non-tenure line faculty on student learning. We focus on classes taken during a student’s first term at Northwestern, and employ a unique identification strategy in which we control for both student-level fixed effects and next-class-taken fixed effects to measure the degree to which non-tenure line faculty contribute more or less to lasting student learning than do other faculty. We find consistent evidence that students learn relatively more from non-tenure line professors in their introductory courses. These differences are present across a wide variety of subject areas, and are particularly pronounced for Northwestern’s average students and less-qualified students.

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