Study sees benefit in courses with nontenured instructors

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

While many higher education experts — and parents — bemoan the fact that tenured professors are a shrinking presence, now making up less than a quarter of the academic work force, a study released Monday found, surprisingly, that students in introductory classes learned more from outside instructors than from tenured or tenure-track professors.

Students taught by untenured faculty were more likely to take a second course in the discipline and more likely to earn a better grade in the next course than those whose first course was taught by a tenured or tenure-track instructor, the report said.

The study, released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, is based on data from more than 15,000 students who arrived at Northwestern University from 2001 to 2008.

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