Academic Leadership Journal


Non-tenure track faculty comprise an increasing percentage of full time faculty employed by American universities. In 2001, the Association of American Universities (AAU) reported that 31% of full and part-time faculty were non-tenure track. According to a 2006 report by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), full-time non-tenure track faculty increased from 13% to 18.7% of total faculty between 1975-2003. These faculty often serve in most of the same roles as tenure track faculty, including teaching, research and service. At the same time, they are nearly always paid less, have fewer benefits, few opportunities for research leaves or sabbaticals, less job security, and little or no involvement in faculty governance (AAU, 2001; AFT, 2003; Curtis & Jacobe, 2006). In addition, especially in this very difficult economic climate, non-tenure track faculty positions are often the first to be offered up during budget cuts. Curtis & Jacobe (2006) contend that these differences between tenure and non-tenure track status limit academic freedom since many non-tenure track faculty fear that pressing for greater benefits or job security may result in job loss.