CIC’s Key Indicators Tool Data Show Negligible Increase in Part-Time Faculty

Data from CIC’s 2016 Key Indicators Tool (KIT) benchmarking reports, released this spring, show little increase in the use of part-time faculty members over the most recent five years covered by the report (2010–2011 to 2014–2015). At least half of the small and mid-sized private institutions in the sample have faculties comprised of less than 25 percent part-time faculty members.

“Across higher education, we have seen a rapid increase in the use of part-time and adjunct faculty members,” observed Harold V. Hartley III, CIC senior vice president. “CIC member institutions, however, are an exception and have consistently relied upon part-timers to a lesser degree than other kinds of colleges and universities.” Furthermore, CIC’s 2016 Changes in Faculty Composition at Independent Colleges report found that most part-time faculty members at CIC colleges and universities are not teaching traditional undergraduate courses, but rather are teaching in adult and professional programs.

The KIT data also show that the size of an institution is related to the percentage of part-time faculty employed (see figure below). Independent colleges and universities with fewer than 1,000 students are less likely to employ part-time faculty members, while institutions with more than 3,000 students have close to 30 percent of faculty members classified as part-time.

The KIT provides a customized, confidential benchmarking report for each CIC member president. Twenty indicators measure institutional performance in four key areas: student enrollment and progression, faculty composition and compensation, tuition revenue and financial aid, and financial resources and expenditures. The KIT provides member institutions with access to comparative data that can be used to enhance institutional decision making, planning, and effectiveness.

The 2016 KIT report was released in mid-May, based on the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. The confidential reports are prepared exclusively for CIC presidents by the Austen Group and, thanks to generous support by Ruffalo Noel Levitz, are made available at no cost to all institutional members of CIC. View more information about KIT and other CIC benchmarking services, or contact Hollie Chessman, CIC’s director of research projects, at hchessman@cic.nche.edu.


Median Percentage of Part-Time Faculty by Enrollment Size at Baccalaureate and Master’s-Level Independent Colleges and Universities, 2010–2011 to 2014–2015

Line Graph: Median Percentage of Part-Time Faculty by Enrollment Size at Baccalaureate and Master’s-Level Independent Colleges and Universities, 2010–2011 to 2014–2015  

Note: Data are from IPEDS and represent full-time equivalent (FTE) of part-time instructional faculty as a percentage of the total of instructional faculty FTE.

Source: 2016 CIC Key Indicators Tool



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