Thursday, April 17, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Study sees benefit in courses with nontenured instructors

By Tamar Lewin

While many higher education experts — and parents — bemoan the fact that tenured professors are a shrinking presence, now making up less than a quarter of the academic work force, a study released Monday found, surprisingly, that students in introductory classes learned more from outside instructors than from tenured or tenure-track professors.

Students taught by untenured faculty were more likely to take a second course in the discipline and more likely to earn a better grade in the next course than those whose first course was taught by a tenured or tenure-track instructor, the report said.

The study, released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, is based on data from more than 15,000 students who arrived at Northwestern University from 2001 to 2008.

According to the authors — David N. Figlio, director of Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research; Morton O. Schapiro, the university’s president; and Kevin B. Soter, a consultant — there was “strong and consistent evidence that Northwestern faculty outside of the tenure system outperform tenure track/tenured professors in introductory undergraduate classrooms.” The differences were present across a wide variety of subject areas, the study found, and were especially pronounced for average and less-qualified students.

“Our results provide evidence that the rise of full-time designated teachers at U.S. colleges and universities may be less of a cause for alarm than some people think, and indeed, may actually be educationally beneficial,” the report said.

The fact that the study included only one university — and a selective, private research university at that — left its general applicability open to question. And, skeptics point out, there are many reasons a student might take a second class in a discipline apart from the teaching skills of the previous instructor.

“I’m kind of dubious,” said Anita Levy, a senior program officer at the American Association of University Professors. “I’m not surprised that introductory classes might be better taught by contingent faculty members simply because most tenured faculty more often teach advanced courses. My worry is that a study like this can be used to justify hiring more contingent faculty who won’t have due-process protections or job security and might not even have offices. It’s part of the just-in-time, Walmartization of higher education.”

In its reports, the association has said that the concentration of contingent faculty “weakens the academic enterprise.” And while the new study found positive results, some earlier studies have found negative effects associated with the increase in part-time and nontenured faculty.

New York Times News Service

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Benefit set for local bike legend

By Adrian Glass-Moore | From Page: A1

 
Jury deliberates murder, elder-abuse charges

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

 
Davis wins USA Today Best Cycling Town honor

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
California residents divided on drought solution

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A2

For the record

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A2

 
Three killed in attack on Ukrainian base

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

State’s health care sign-ups beat projections

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Scholar will discuss human trafficking in Friday talk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Downtown post office set to reopen

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B3

Run or walk to prevent child abuse in Yolo County

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Nominations sought for charity paint giveaway

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Food Co-op board plans open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Davis Downtown hosts candidate forum

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A4

Learn more about Google Glass at talk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Per Capita Davis: Now, for some good news

By John Mott-Smith | From Page: A4

Birch Lane hosts 50th anniversary party

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Hannah Stein reads poetry at gallery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Davis Food Co-op to offer free bags on Earth Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Get in the picture with school board candidate

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

KDVS hosts on-air fundraiser April 21-27

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Tickets on sale for Pence Garden Tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Fundraiser planned for Allen’s campaign

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Barbecue celebrates winter shelter program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Sign of things to come

By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A8

 
Davis Soroptimists celebrate 60 years

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

.

Forum

Fancy meeting you here …

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Expert: Free parking is a myth

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Have they really learned?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
A great community effort

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Public Health Heroes honored

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

Don’t miss a Trokanski dance

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Frank Bruni: The oldest hatred, forever young

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Foster steps down as Lady Blue Devil basketball coach

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
River Cats’ streak reaches six wins

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Landry evolves into UCD women’s lacrosse leader

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Huge inning propels Pleasant Grove past DHS

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Giants edge Dodgers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Youth roundup: Martinez, Chan come up big at gymnastics regional

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Kings drop season finale to Suns

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Angels get past A’s in extras

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

Wineaux: Good deals off the beaten path

By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A7

 
Rockabilly phenom to play at The Palms

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

HellaCappella showcases a cappella singing

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
‘One’ singular sensation to open at DMTC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

25th annual state clay competition exhibit at The Artery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Tapan Munroe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, April 17, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6