Universities across the country are hiring more faculty who are not on the tenure track, according to a December report by the American Association of University Professors.

The new non-tenured hires often teach the introductory classes tenured professors don’t want to.

The University is a part of that trend, statistics show.

The percentage of non-tenure-track faculty at the University increased 15.5 percent between 1988 and 2005.

Most non-tenure-track instructors are lecturers, but their ranks also include adjunct lecturers, guest lecturers, visiting professors and anyone else not being considered for tenure.

They generally teach undergraduate students, especially first- and second-year students, in fields like foreign language or English, which are required for most students.

These faculty members don’t have the same level of job security as their tenured counterparts.

Often this lack of security leads to less of a willingness to take risks in the classroom, Robinson said. In contrast, the security of a tenured position gives professors the opportunity to discuss controversial issues and opinions in their classes, he said.

SACUA Chair Charles Smith said the University hires non-tenure-track faculty members because they earn significantly less than tenured employees.

There are advantages in a non-tenured position, though, said Ian Robinson, a lecturer in the Residential College. It allows lecturers to focus on teaching without the pressure to publish research, papers or books, he said.

Before the Lecturers’ Employee Organization walked out in protest in April 2004, lecturers were subject to dismissal at the end of a term without explanation. Robinson said their futures were often determined by the comments on student evaluations.

Student evaluations are no longer the primary factor in decisions about lecture appointments and non-tenure track faculty now have more job security, allowing them more academic freedom, Robinson said.

But in the past four years the number of tenure-track faculty at the University has been on the rise, according to data provided by the University.

In 2003, there were 2,544 tenure-track professors. In 2006, there were 2,694.

With non-tenured faculty poised to outnumber tenured faculty within several years, some of the stigma could be removed from non-tenured positions. Currently, the discrepancy in pay and job security between tenured and non-tenured faculty often forces non-tenured faculty into a second-class status, Robinson said.

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