Sunday, April 03, 2016
A Real Choice
For example, we have no large classes in math. All meet in rooms with a capacity in the upper 30s. A nearby university uses large lectures (hundred or more) plus recitations for most of theirs. Can we compare? Not without correcting for a huge SAT score difference, where we even have them. (We don't, for many students.) And how do you correct for the grade curve used, or that their large lectures are taught by adjuncts?
But it is the case that a subset of those math courses at my college are heavily adjunct so the high-level ones can be 100% full time. But can we compare intro to algebra with calculus? Probably not. But we could look at success in later classes based on adjunct versus full time in something like college algebra. I wonder if we have tried that. Have you, Dean Reed?
We do have large classes (lecture plus, for some sciences, very small recitations) for the large enrollment science and social science classes. Can you compare math and science? Math and history? Composition and history? Not easy, particularly when the challenge in the science classes is reading and interpreting word problems.
Are There Instructional Differences between Full-Time and Part-Time Faculty?
Landrum, R. Eric
College Teaching, v57 n1 p23-26 Win 2009. 4 pp. (Peer Reviewed Journal)
This is a study the air force did on student evaluations and performance in a series of Calc 1/2 courses. Students were randomly assigned to sections and tracked through both courses.
Are Tenure Track Professors Better Teachers?
David N. Figlio, Morton O. Schapiro, Kevin B. Soter
NBER Working Paper No. 19406
Issued in September 2013
This study makes use of detailed student-level data from eight cohorts of first-year students at Northwestern University to investigate the relative effects of tenure track/tenured versus non-tenure line faculty on student learning. We focus on classes taken during a student's first term at Northwestern, and employ a unique identification strategy in which we control for both student-level fixed effects and next-class-taken fixed effects to measure the degree to which non-tenure line faculty contribute more or less to lasting student learning than do other faculty. We find consistent evidence that students learn relatively more from non-tenure line professors in their introductory courses. These differences are present across a wide variety of subject areas, and are particularly pronounced for Northwestern's average students and less-qualified students.
And this for an intro comm course (it's 20 years old:
996 “Directing associate faculty: A rich resource for the basic course” Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 3, pp. 187-204 for the basic communication course
But the study doesn’t really distinguish between the two types of non-tenure line faculty—the full-timers and the adjuncts. I wonder if there is a study that tracks how well adjunct part-timers perform in comparison with full-time non-tenure track faculty. Maybe it will turn out that the students of adjuncts learn less than the students of full-time non-tenure line faculty. Any thoughts?
It is important to distinguish between full-time, non-tenured faculty, specializing in instruction, and part-time faculty, often less engaged with the institution. For two-year colleges we report in a recent JEE article http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00220485.2015.1106364#abstract
"Unfortunately, there is evidence that students are not as well served by community college adjunct instructors as they are by full-time instructors. For example, in California’s community college system, Eagan and Jaeger (2009, 180) found a 2% reduction in transfer to a four-year institution for every 10% increase in students’ exposure to part-time faculty instruction. The education literature identifies several explanations for the relative failure of instruction by part-time faculty including: unavailability of instructors outside of class time, use of less challenging instructional methods, and less academic preparation than full-time instructors (Jacoby 2006; Eagan and Jaeger 2009; Xu 2013). Specifically in economics, NSOPF data indicate that 45% of part-time economics faculty earned their highest degree in business, compared to 12% of full-time economics faculty. Thus, it is important to explore further the possibility that community colleges may underserve students because of the large reliance on part-time faculty and instructors without graduate economics degrees"
Eagan, M. Kevin, and Audrey J. Jaeger. 2009. “Effects of Exposure to Part-Time Faculty on Community College Transfer.” Research in Higher Education 50 (2): 168–88. doi:10.1007/s11162-008-9113-8.
Jacoby, Daniel. 2006. “Effects of Part-Time Faculty Employment on Community College Graduation Rates.” The Journal of Higher Education 77 (6): 1081–1103. doi:10.1353/jhe.2006.0050.
Xu, Di. 2013. “Examining the Impact of Adjunct Instructors on Student Current and Sequential Course Outcomes within a Community College System: An Instrumental Variable Approach.” New Orleans, LA. http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/presentation/impact-of-adjunct-instructors-on-student-current-and-sequential-course-outcomes.html.