Contingent Faculty in US are Older, Unhappy, and Untenured

Recently the TIAA Institute published a national survey of over five hundred “adjunct faculty” in the US, the equivalent of “sessional faculty” in Canadian universities: “Some have professional work experience, while others are academics who have a Master’s degree or a doctorate.”

Among the results, the survey indicated that the majority of adjuncts are over 40 years old, and they mostly teach at one institution. This corrects a common misperception

…that they are relatively young, have recently attained their doctorate degree, and are teaching multiple classes at multiple colleges and universities while pursuing a tenure-track position. While such individuals certainly exist, they do not represent the norm. Approximately 70% of adjunct faculty are over age 40; their average age is 50.

Adjunct faculty: Who they are and what is their experience?

Among those who are most dissatisfied, being under 40, having a PhD, and not having a tenure-track position were common traits.