Hermits Rock

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JP calls attention to a new report by AFT about changes in faculty composition over the past decade. The report says what has been obvious for some time, which is that tenure-track positions are disappearing, and JP makes the keen point that the loss of these positions adversely affects graduation.

In the process, JP also wonders what the change in faculty looks like against college enrollment. Fortunately, those statistics are readily available from NCES, so I put together a couple of quick charts to look at the numbers. First, this is what the last 10 years have looked like when comparing faculty across all universities. It shows what AFT reports, which is that the number of tenure-track faculty (in blue) has basically remained constant, while non-TT faculty (in red) has increased significantly.

Second, this is what the last 10 years have looked like when adding higher-education enrollment (in yellow) to the mix. To put the numbers on a comparable scale, I reduced the enrollment numbers by a factor of 10.

Notice that increases in non-TT faculty track almost point-for-point with increases in enrollment. Colleges are filling in the gaps created by high enrollment with non-TT faculty almost exclusively. Although the number of TT positions has increased very slightly the past few years, the fact of the matter is that tenured jobs across higher-education are indeed becoming more scarce: they represent a smaller and smaller portion of the total number of positions available.