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Are universities hiring non-tenured adjuncts—who now make up two-thirds of the faculty workforce—because their tenured veterans won’t retire?

Delayed retirement is a contributing factor in the proliferation of adjuncts, says Brian Kaskie, associate professor of health policy at the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health. Employees who can’t be fired and won’t retire are a burden administrators don’t want to assume.

Under age-discrimination laws, college professors, like most American workers, can’t be forced into retirement. Congress ended mandatory age-70 faculty retirement in 1994, after the National Academy of Sciences predicted the change wouldn’t increase professors’ average retirement age.

Colleges and universities are experimenting with strategies—from financial incentives to life coaching—aimed at coaxing veteran professors into starting the next chapter of their lives.

Faculty members finding exciting new directions once they retire from their tenured professorships. But data suggests that faculty members are waiting longer to retire than they once did, with sometimes problematic implications for their institutions.

Incorporating the local: A four-story atrium in Salisbury University’s 224,000-square-foot, $117 million library features a grand staircase with the silhouette of Chesapeake Bay crabs that was designed to echo colors of the nearby ocean.

While 98 percent of librarians in a 2015 Gale/Library Journal survey wished for better communication with faculty, only 45 percent of faculty expressed the same wish.

This gap presents both a challenge and an opportunity for libraries to make a case for their usefulness to faculty, in both their teaching and scholarship.

To promote faculty use of the library, Salisbury University in Maryland created a dedicated Faculty Center, including comfortable spaces and conference rooms to foster interaction among professors and instructors across disciplines.


Keeping employees engaged while minimizing turnover is a crucial component of institutional success, but unfortunately, many colleges and universities are hampered by a culture of disengagement. One recent study found that 52 percent of faculty members said they were not engaged in their work, a further 14 percent were actively disengaged, and only 34 percent reported feeling engaged with their jobs.*

Leigh Greden is advisor to the president, and Russ Olwell is interim director of government and community relations at Eastern Michigan University.

Programs to help employees purchase housing near campus have gained favor in the past decade. A housing program that improves neglected areas only increases the profile and potential of the entire campus community.

The national PhD Project has encouraged about 1,000 professionals of color to leave the corporate world to become business school professors.

Lack of diversity among faculty and administrators compounded the racial tensions that drove a wave of student protests—and a handful of high-level resignations—on campuses across the U.S. in the fall of 2015.

Cynthia Brandenburg is an associate professor and the immediate past president of the faculty senate at Champlain College. Mike Kelly is an assistant professor and the current president of the Champlain’s faculty senate.

As faculty members at a small, tuition-driven private college in the northeast, the familiar refrain of contemporary higher education in shambles rings in our heads.

How will our college’s low-endowment—combined with less than optimal name recognition—reconcile with the declining number of high school graduates in our region? How will the arms race of amenities and the pressures of increased regulations direct the college’s scarce, but stable, resources to places outside the classroom?

In 1969, three-quarters of faculty at U.S. colleges and universities were tenured or tenure-track. That number dropped to just above one-quarter in 2013. (Click to enlarge)

Colleges and universities have made spending on administrators and part-time instructors a higher priority than raising salaries of core faculty members who have the biggest impact on learning, says a new report from the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education.

Rick Cherwitz is a professor in the Moody College of Communication and faculty fellow in the Division of Diversity & Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.

The “faculty contract” is a process by which faculty, in consultation with their departments and colleges, negotiate—and then, over the course of time—renegotiate their work product. This would institute greater flexibility and autonomy in determining the work product of faculty.