Standards for Faculty
Standards for Faculty
Task Force Charge

Task Force on Standards for Part-Time, Adjunct and Contingent Faculty

The profile and working conditions of the professoriate in general and education in particular are going through significant changes.  The academy now hires more non-tenure track than tenure track faculty.  Part-time faculty are the fastest growing group in the academy.  How tenure-track faculty and administrators treat and work with contingent faculty remains unclear, and at times, appears to be unjust.  Some institutions may not even be aware of how many contingent faculty they employ.  Little is known about the sorts of support these faculty are receiving or need to receive to be effective teachers, researchers, and scholars.

As a professional field, education has long had a considerable number of non-tenure track faculty who have provided important contributions to departments, schools and colleges of education.  Frequently, adjunct faculty and Professors of Practice have had distinguished careers in schools, colleges and universities, or government agencies.  Their practice-based knowledge has contributed to the overall quality of preparation of researchers and practitioners in the educational field.  However, the potential exists, especially during difficult financial times, for contingent faculty to be looked upon as cheap labor with increased teaching responsibilities and few rights and privileges such as participation in curriculum and other academic planning and governance, or access to health and retirements benefits. Their numbers are thus increased in ways that distort their optimal utilization and weaken programs. 

AERA, as an association with 25,000 members, over 80% of whom reside in the academy, has an abiding interest in fostering a healthy intellectual climate for those who work in the field of education.  One key way for the Association to aid its members is to work to ensure that all individuals have the necessary support and respect to be effective members in their academic units.

This proposed Task Force will focus on the working conditions for contingent faculty in departments, schools, and colleges of education.  In particular, the Task Force will have 5 foci:

  • To document the changes that are occurring in the hiring and retention of contingent education faculty and establish a clear definition of contingent faculty;
  • To suggest effective evaluation procedures for contingent faculty;
  • To recommend effective practices with regard to hiring, retention, and compensation;
  • To propose how non-tenure track faculty might be involved in appropriate governance practices and included as valued members within the on-going life of the academic community; and
  • To put forward suggestions for how AERA might better support contingent faculty.
Task Force Members

Adrianna Kezar (Chair)
Associate Professor 
Rossier School of Education
University of Southern California

Stanton E. F. Wortham
Judy and Howard Berkowitz Professor
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania

Ben Baez
Associate Professor
Department of Leadership and Professional Studies
College of Education
Florida International University

Sara Goldrick-Rab
Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and Sociology
Department of Educational Policy Studies
Wisconsin Center for Education Research
University of Wisconsin - Madison

Susan Finely                                             
Associate Professor
Washington State University, Vancouver

Esther Merves
Director of  Research and Special Programs
New Faculty Majority Foundation