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When discussing postsecondary faculty in public policy circles, two issues arise: tenure and workload.

While professorial tenure is an important topic, most policymakers are concerned about tenure as it relates to quality of instruction, distribution of tenured and non-tenured faculty, and the state and institutional costs of giving professors tenure.

A related issue is workload, especially in terms of teaching loads for tenured professors. This issue has a fiscal impact, but also has implications on faculty roles. Generally, faculty members engage in teaching, research, and public service. However, with tenure placing emphasis on research and publication, state policymakers have discovered some misalignment between state goals and the interests of institutions and faculty.

From the faculty point of view, the hiring of non-tenured instructors and lecturers might contain costs while adulterating course and program quality.

With states asking institutions to stretch postsecondary dollars, the trend of non-tenured hiring probably will not abate. Also, with tighter budgets, policymakers might continue to advocate for larger teaching loads for tenured faculty.

 

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