Student Hunger at Private Institutions

Allen, C. C., and N. F. Alleman. 2019. “A Private Struggle at a Private Institution: Effects of Student Hunger on Social and Academic Experiences.” Journal of College Student Development 60 (1): 52–69.


“I guess it’s changed my academic life because if I wasn’t worrying about where I was going to get food, and if it was going to be healthy, and if I had stuff to live off of where I didn’t have [to] work, then I would be able to study more” (p. 59). This quotation reflects the central thesis of this exploratory, qualitative study that examines food insecurity as a reason for disruptions in students’ social and academic experiences at an unnamed, affluent, private institution. Findings showed that some students in this selective university were food-insecure and that this problem interfered with students’ academic trajectories (namely, students who had to work longer hours could not find the time needed to study and perform their best in class) and social experiences (that is, students selected social experiences based more on free food options than actual interest).


The authors use the definition by Coleman-Jensen, et al. (2016) of food insecurity as a condition that exists when individuals do not have “access to enough food for an active, healthy life.” Also relying on the work of Broton, Frank, and Goldrick-Rab (2014), the authors discuss food insecurity on college campuses as a particularly challenging and often invisible problem given the shame and stigma often associated with poverty.

Of particular interest, the authors chose a university that was “selective, [and] normatively affluent” (p. 56) in order to challenge the assumption that food insecurity is often linked only to students from low-income families who attend community colleges or public institutions. For this study, selectivity was defined “simply as the difference between the number of students who apply and the number who are accepted” (p. 57). The institution where the study takes place had an overall acceptance rate of 40 percent and reported a median family income of $130,000; 15 percent of its total enrollment consisted of Pell-eligible students.
The students selected for the study were screened based on their availability to participate and on their experiences with food insecurity. Appropriate to phenomenological approaches to inquiry, the authors selected ten students who “had experienced the most severe level of food insecurity” (p. 57) and interviewed each for one to three hours. Students were asked about their “food experiences as children, college choice perceptions and processes, academic experiences, how they spent their time outside of class, experiences with food scarcity, strategies for managing food scarcity, sources of support, insights or lessons gained from their food insecurity experiences, and their recommendations for institutional solutions” (p. 57). In terms of academic experiences, findings suggested that these food-insecure students remained highly committed to their progress as well as that certain campus resources (for example, plentiful free tutoring opportunities) helped them succeed in the face of food uncertainties. Across the interviews, students noted that time spent worrying about food was time taken away from their studies. Academic progress was disrupted by students needing to take semesters off to work, taking courses at cheaper community colleges, and changing majors to those that required less out-of-classroom time.

Students acknowledged the help that came with being enrolled at a well-resourced institution, specifically citing faculty members as a critical source of mentorship, confidentiality, and advocacy. They provided these students with the navigational and emotional support often needed to persist. Not only did faculty members help students understand how to navigate the culture of the institution successfully, they also served as confidantes—frequently they were the only ones on campus with knowledge of the students’ struggles with food insecurities. Unfortunately, the study does not report the students’ experiences with institutional support such as food pantries; however, the nature of the interviews suggests that many of these students attempted to conceal their struggles with food insecurity from the campus community.

Turning to social experiences, most students chose to conceal their struggles rather than share them with peers. These students valued social events and activities with peers, just not the price tag often associated with participation; as one student noted, “It really does impact your social life….Especially with the sorority. To them it was $5, $7, at [a local fast food restaurant]…or stuff like that…Food is how sometimes people bond. It’s where they socialize…I couldn’t do that” (p.62). Finally, many of these students were forced to choose work over friendship. Taking on more work hours meant sacrificing the time needed to develop meaningful friendships with their peers.


The problem of food insecurities, as explored in this study, is not limited to public colleges and universities. Students who experience it often need to manage the social stigmatization that comes with combating stereotypical messages about poverty, and they are at heightened risk when enrolled at institutions—including private, selective institutions such as the one in this study—where affluence is embraced as a cultural value, as a symbol of belonging, and as a pathway to success. What can private institutions do to counteract these cultural stereotypes? How can they sensitize the campus community to the realities of food-insecure students?

Faculty members need to be aware of food insecurity as a pressing issue for some of their students and be equipped with information on resources to help students with food insecurities. How can faculty members be educated that food insecurities exist even at selective, private institutions? How can they be informed regarding which institutional, local, and federal resources are in place to help students deal with these crises?

Turning to student life, time seems to be an ubiquitous source of stress for food-insecure students. Time spent managing food insecurities affected their choices related to work, social engagement, and selection of major, to name a few. Recognizing the reality that students dealing with this issue are making a broad array of academic and social choices dependent on limited time left over after managing it, a first step may be for institutional stakeholders to consider what can be done to help these students maximize the time they do have. As one example, institutional stakeholders may wish to consider suggestions from authors such as Goldrick-Rab (2016), who recommends that advisors, faculty members, and student affairs educators be open to scheduling demands of food-insecure students because these students manage time differently. These students may take courses in the morning to prevent sitting through class hungry, avoid studying late at night because hunger prevents them from concentrating, and seek out free on-campus events that offer food.

Given the change in student demographics with larger numbers of lower-income students enrolling in college, it is increasingly likely that many colleges and universities—both public and private—will encounter more students with food insecurities. Institutional leaders may need to devote more attention to and support for students with these needs.

About the Authors

Cara Cliburn Allen is a doctoral candidate in higher education studies and leadership at Baylor University.

Nathan F. Alleman is associate professor of educational leadership at Baylor University.

Literature Readers May Wish to Consult

Broton, K., V. Frank, and S. Goldrick-Rab. 2014. “Safety, Security, and College Attainment: An Investigation of Undergraduates’ Basic Needs and Institutional Response.” Wisconsin Hope Lab. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Public Policy and Management, October. 1–40.

Coleman-Jensen, A., C. Gregory, and M. Rabbitt. 2016. “Definitions of Food Security.” Food Security in the U.S. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Government Accountability Office. 2018. Food Insecurity: Better Information Could Help Eligible College Students Access Federal Food Assistance Benefits. (GAO Publication No. 19-95). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Mullainathan, S., and E. Shafir. 2010. Scarcity. New York: Picador.

Effect of Critical Thinking Education on College Students’ Unwarranted Beliefs

Dyer, K. D., and R. E. Hall. 2019. “Effect of Critical Thinking Education on Epistemically Unwarranted Beliefs in College Students.” Research in Higher Education 60 (3): 293–314.


The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of critical thinking courses on helping students reduce their epistemically unwarranted beliefs, defined as “beliefs not founded on reliable reasoning or credible data” (p. 293). By using a longitudinal design with control groups, the authors were able to associate unwarranted belief reductions with exposure to and participation in a course titled “Science and Nonsense.” In addition, the authors also examined whether this association was due to demographic characteristics or other specific profiles. They conclude that their classroom-based intervention “has the potential to reach all students” and is “good news for educators” (p. 311).


The authors argue that science—and by extension fact—is under fire. Recent national narratives about climate change and homeopathy have offered scientists an opportunity to help students understand the differences between fact and belief. Recently, scientific course offerings have been designed to teach not only didactic knowledge about historical occurrences in the scientific community, but also the epistemic skills needed for students to separate notions of science from pseudoscience, or as the authors contend “science from nonsense” (p. 295).

The authors studied six sections of a critical thinking class called “Natural Science 4: Science and Nonsense,” which “explicitly addresses common human errors of perception and logic by applying critical thinking skills to the claims of specific epistemically unwarranted beliefs” (p. 296). The authors describe the objectives of the course sections in detail, including the articulated learning outcomes, the assessments used to measure content mastery, and a list of topics mentioned in class. The authors compared students enrolled in these sections with those enrolled in two other conditions: students enrolled in research methods classes that focused on scientific inquiry, but not pseudoscience, and students enrolled in comparison courses that did not fulfill the university’s critical thinking requirement. To be clear, the authors note that not all courses in any condition were taught by the same instructor, nor could they fully account for selection effects.

The Inventory of Epistemically Unwarranted Beliefs (IEUB) scale was longitudinally administered to students across the three course conditions: the intervention, the research methods courses, and the comparison courses. In addition to collecting information contained in these scales, the authors obtained students’ university records, including SAT scores, high school grade point average, academic major, year in school, and cumulative grade point average.

Results indicated that students in the intervention condition, Natural Science 4: Science and Nonsense, experienced a statistically significant reduction in epistemically unwarranted beliefs compared with peers in either the research methods or control condition. In addition, students in the research methods condition did not statistically differ from their peers in the control condition in terms of reduction in epistemically unwarranted beliefs. Taken together, these findings suggest that students must be explicitly taught how to differentiate science from nonsense and that educators cannot leave this type of learning to chance—neither as a byproduct of participating in research methods courses designed to teach general critical thinking skills, nor as an outcome of participating in any college course.


Can the skills needed to separate fact from fiction be taught? Results from this study suggest that they can. While seemingly trite, these results are critically important to institutions that value designing educational experiences to produce the next generation of informed and responsible citizens. As students continue to be bombarded with misinformation as well as narratives suggesting that belief is fact, institutions must respond with curricula designed to help students make sense out of the nonsense and separate fake from real news.

The idea that this type of learning cannot be a byproduct of participation in general education curricula, whether specifically designed to help students think critically or not, is equally important. As institutional leaders continue to revise educational offerings to meet the dynamic and changing needs of students, they must take pedagogical strategies seriously by asking faculty members to design courses with specific purposes (like separating science from nonsense) and assessing these courses rigorously. Leaving learning to chance is never a good idea and one that this study cautions against.

About the Authors

Kathleen D. Dyer is an associate professor in child and family sciences at California State University, Fresno.

Raymond E. Hall is a professor of physics at California State University, Fresno.

Literature Readers May Wish to Consult

Abrami, P. C., R. M. Bernard, E. Borokhovski, A. Wade, M. S. Surkes, R. Tamim, et al. 2008. “Instructional Interventions Affecting Critical Thinking Skills and Dispositions: A Stage 1 Meta-Analysis.” Review of Educational Research 78: 1102–1134.

Lobato, E., J. Mendoza, V. Sims, and M. Chin. 2014. “Examining the Relationship between Conspiracy Theories, Paranormal Beliefs, and Pseudoscience Acceptance among a University Population.” Applied Cognitive Psychology 28: 617–625.

McLaughlin, A. C., and A. E. McGill. 2017. “Explicitly Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in a History Course.” Science and Education. Retrieved March 20, 2019, from SpringerLink.

Use of Nonacademic Factors in Holistic Undergraduate Admissions Reviews

Hossler, D., E. Chung, J. Kwon, J. Lucido, N. Bowman, and M. Bastedo. 2019. “A Study of the Use of Nonacademic Factors in Holistic Undergraduate Admissions Reviews.” The Journal of Higher Education 90 (6): 833–859.


This study examined the use of nonacademic factors on holistic admissions decision making. The authors adopted a multi-pronged approach to investigate the ways admissions officers use nonacademic factors when making decisions. They surveyed more than 300 admissions professionals; of those, they interviewed 19 who worked at one of ten private and public institutions with varying degrees of selectivity. Results indicated that these factors were often used differentially, based on the selectivity of the institution. While all institutions used nonacademic indicators of success as admissions criteria, officers from less selective institutions were more likely to use these factors to “admit students who might not otherwise be admitted” thus providing “an explanation for admitting students whose profile does not suggest that [they] will be academically successful” (p. 19).


The authors frame their study as critically important given the increased scrutiny institutions are facing regarding admissions on college campuses. They draw from Sedlacek’s (2011) work to define nonacademic factors (NAFs) as “variables relating to adjustment, motivation, and student perceptions, rather than the traditional verbal and quantitative (often called cognitive) areas typically measured by standardized tests” (p. 17). Of course, the challenge the authors note in studying the use of these factors in admissions is that the factors are often introduced arbitrarily, resulting in inconsistent application across cases and in a lack of transparency surrounding their use. That said, the authors used a mixed-methods approach to answer the following research questions: “(1) What types of NAFS are most frequently used? (2) How important are NAFs relative to student and high school contextual factors? And (3) How do institutional control and selectivity influence the use of NAFs?” (p. 4).

In response to the first question, the following NAFs were ranked based on the importance admissions officers ascribed to them in making decisions: performance factors, attitudinal factors, creativity, and grit. Performance factors encompass a host of ideas, including but not limited to level of engagement, ability to manipulate specialized knowledge, ability to link knowledge across domains, and the degree to which the applicant devotes extra time to task completion, avoids negative behaviors, sets goals, and supervises tasks. Attitudinal factors include “self-concept, self-efficacy, attribution tendencies, interests, social attitudes/values/beliefs, ethics/morality, intercultural sensitivity, and adaptability/flexibility” (p. 14). Creativity and grit also were important, although they received less attention in the study’s narrative.

Turning to the second research question, the NAFs were third in importance when making an admissions decision. Indeed, academic factors received the most weight for admissions. Next came contextual factors, including whether a student identified as first-generation or as someone from a single-parent home. The aforementioned NAFs were given less weight than these other two factors but may have played more of a role at less selective institutions when compared with their highly selective counterparts.

The most salient response to the third research question included use of NAFs among institutions that were not as selective as others. Among these institutions, the NAFs were used to push otherwise non-admissible students toward a more positive admissions profile. The authors postulate that admissions officers at less selective institutions may be “looking for a story” (p. 19) to justify admitting students whose academic and contextual profiles would otherwise discourage a positive admissions review.


Although the authors focus on court cases as expressions of this scrutiny, recent issues regarding children of celebrities and/or wealthy parents have brought admissions to the forefront of the American consciousness (and often criticism) regarding college-going. How does admission to a certain type of institution further codify an elite class? Particularly when bought using fraudulent admissions pathways available only to the wealthiest Americans? How private institutions contribute to this class codification—through their admissions processes—is as interesting as it is complicated, especially as stakeholders balance the trade-offs between admissions processes that sustain and increase prestige with those that provide access to those most in need of higher education.

How CIC admissions officers use NAFs—in conjunction with academic and contextual factors—is worth a second look. Examples of performance factors, attitudinal factors, creativity, and grit and their use in admissions decisions may help CIC members recruit, admit, and optimize the type of educational cohort more reflective of the values the institution holds. Indeed, prioritizing NAFs may reach the admits most in need of the type of education CIC members can deliver.

About the Author

Don Hossler is senior scholar in the Center for Enrollment Research, Policy and Practice at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education.

Emily Chung is associate director of the Center for Enrollment Research, Policy and Practice at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education.

Jihye Kwon is analyst for co-curricular assessment and research at the Northern Kentucky University.

Jerry Lucido is executive director of the Center for Enrollment Research, Policy and Practice at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education.

Nicholas Bowman is a professor in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Program and the director of the Center for Research on Undergraduate Education at the University of Iowa.

Michael Bastedo is professor and director, Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education, University of Michigan.

Literature Readers May Wish to Consult

Bastedo, M. N. 2018. “What Are We Talking about When We Talk about Holistic Review? Selective College Admissions and Its Effects on Low-SES Students.” The Journal of Higher Education 89 (5): 782–805.

Kalsbeek, D., M. Sandlin, and W. Sedlacek. 2013. “Employing Noncognitive Variables to Improve Admissions, and Increase Student Diversity and Retention.” Strategic Enrollment Management Quarterly 1 (2): 132–150.

Adjunct Faculty Members Teaching at Four-Year Institutions

Bolitzer, L. A. 2019. “What We Know (and Don’t Know) about Adjunct Faculty as Teachers at Four-Year Institutions.” The Review of Higher Education 43 (1): 113–142.


The purpose of this paper was to provide an analytic review of research examining adjunct faculty members at bachelor’s-degree-granting institutions. This conceptual piece briefs readers on what is known about adjuncts and how institutions can best support these critical players in the higher education system. Accordingly, the major questions driving this effort underscore the importance of teaching in undergraduate education and also serve as the organizational framework for this review. The author notes, “Over the past 20 years individual researchers, or research teams, have begun to ask questions such as ‘What motivates adjunct faculty? Are they effective teachers? And how might institutions better support their efforts?’ Yet little research has brought these works together to present a larger view of adjunct faculty as teachers at bachelors-granting institutions, where they are increasingly concentrated” (p. 144). The author concludes with a series of thoughtful recommendations for educators interested in adjunct faculty. (For a separate analysis, see CIC’s report, Changes in Faculty Composition at Independent Colleges.)



The author frames the study in terms of its utility in understanding teaching, especially from the purview of adjunct faculty. Using a variety of scholarly frames and empirical pieces, she discusses teaching as an amalgam of four components: the engagement of students in subject matter content in ways that maximize learning, the pedagogical range of activities that accompany this engagement (from syllabus creation to grading), the articulation of learning outcomes congruent with the nature of the pedagogical exercise, and the openness of the teacher to learning from the teaching experience itself.

With these principles as a guide, the author describes her process of conducting the literature review. Through a systematic process, she identified 126 empirical studies and 16 books regarding adjunct instructors at bachelor’s-degree-granting institutions. She then mapped these works onto the four components discussed above and emerged with the following pieces that informed this study: 36 empirical articles, four analytic discussions, and six dissertations. Importantly, she excluded works that discussed the “treatment of adjunct faculty by institutions” (p. 116), including practices related to recruitment, hiring, and compensation; pieces that addressed adjunct experiences at community colleges or graduate institutions; and efforts designed to understand adjunct faculty hired beyond a semester-by-semester basis (for example, clinical faculty appointments). With these caveats in mind, the author organized her review into five parts: qualifications to teach, motivations to teach, institutional support for teaching, job satisfaction, and teaching effectiveness.

What qualifications do adjunct faculty at bachelor’s-degree-granting institutions need to teach? After reviewing the literature, the author suggests that these faculty are less likely to hold doctorates than full-time faculty. She concludes that often these credentials—or the lack thereof—do not result in more effective teaching.

What motivates adjunct faculty members at bachelor’s-degree-granting institutions? In short, the author concludes that they are motivated by many extrinsic factors such as the freedom, flexibility, and status that come from working in academia. Of critical note is that many adjuncts view this type of position as a point of entry into a potential full-time appointment within the university. Of course, these faculty members are motivated intrinsically as well, with many commenting about the deep satisfaction they receive from teaching.

How are institutions supporting their adjunct faculty members at bachelor’s-degree-granting institutions? In short, not well, as many faculty members struggle to find the office space needed to work effectively, including meeting with students for office hours and having space to meet with other faculty about teaching. By not providing these faculty members with the spaces needed to do their job well, institutions alienate many of them; the adjuncts consistently feel as though they are not respected, not real teachers, and not part of the academic community in which they work (p. 122). Although perceived needs vary based on the types of appointments adjunct faculty members hold (for instance, career-enders, freelancers, or aspiring academics), it is clear that institutions that care about teaching—and by extension student learning—should care about anyone hired to teach.

What leads to job satisfaction among adjunct faculty members at bachelor’s-degree-granting institutions? The answer to this question may seem intuitive: Teaching is their primary source of satisfaction, and lack of institutional support is the primary driver of their dissatisfaction. That said, the anxiety these faculty members feel over the temporary nature of their employment complicates the story, with many becoming less confident in their teaching abilities—despite excellent course evaluations—over time. This complication is especially the case for adjuncts who aspire to become full-time faculty members: Being hired on a year-to-year or semester-by-semester basis may make some of these excellent adjunct teachers feel as though they are not good enough for full-time teaching work.

How effective at teaching are adjunct faculty members employed by bachelor’s-degree-granting institutions? Results are mixed, as some studies report that they are more effective teachers than their full-time counterparts and others suggest they are “fairly similar to their full-time colleagues in terms of their instructional practices” (p. 130). In the context of student behaviors, the author did note research that suggests that students’ exposure to adjunct teaching may not have a profound differential effect on their learning, but may on their likelihood of persisting.


How institutions treat faculty members is symbolic of the importance institutions place on teaching which, by definition, includes anyone paid to instruct students in the classroom. Although the needs of adjunct faculty members vary based on their professional aspirations (whether experts or career-enders, etc.), institutions must provide the accommodations instructors need to teach effectively. At minimum, accommodations should include space for meeting with students, institutional email addresses, and access to library services on campus. Institutions should also develop pipeline strategies for excellent adjunct faculty members who may eventually desire full-time positions. Hiring good teachers is easier than training bad ones (Mayhew et al. 2016). If institutions find a good teacher, it would be of long-term strategic value to curate the professional development of this individual, in the ways this individual sees fit. Too often, institutions adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to the recruitment and development of adjuncts: It may be time to recognize the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations that differentiate adjuncts and ensure that the excellent ones are having their needs properly met.

Administrators need to pay attention to their use of adjuncts over the course of a student’s journey. Students may not persist if overly exposed to adjunct instructors over the course of their four years in college. Even if they are excellent teachers, adjuncts may not carry important institutional messages in the same ways as full-time faculty, and as a result, students may not feel as integrated into the community if overexposed to adjunct instructors.

About the Authors

Liza Ann Bolitzer is a full-time, non-tenure-track assistant professor in the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs of Baruch College, City University of New York.

Literature Readers May Wish to Consult

Aaron, M., and N. Pallas. 2019. Convergent Teaching: Tools to Spark Deeper Learning in College. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Beach, A. L., M. D. Sorcinelli, A. E. Austin, and J. K. Rivard. 2016. Faculty Development in the Age of Evidence: Current Practices, Future Imperatives. Herndon, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Morphew, C., K. Ward, and L. Wolf-Wendel. 2016. Changes in Faculty Composition at Independent Colleges. Washington, DC: The Council of Independent Colleges.

Neumann, A. 2009. Professing to Learn: Creating Tenured Lives and Careers in the American Research University. No. 475. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Implications of Faculty Members’ Pretenure Emotions for Success in Teaching and Research

Stupnisky, R., N. Hall, and R. Pekrun. 2019. “The Emotions of Pretenure Faculty: Implications for Teaching and Research Success.” Review of Higher Education 42 (4): 1489–1526.


“I think I only submitted one [manuscript] in the first two years and it got rejected. I did not want to write because I did not want to get rejected. I did not want to produce something that sucked [was of poor quality]. So yeah, that fear really had a big impact.” (p. 1502).

The emotions pretenure faculty members experience as part of their journey toward tenure are varied and often extreme. To complicate this even further, pretenure faculty members regulate emotions about research and teaching differently, according to the findings from this mixed methods study. Combining information from over 100 surveyed pretenure faculty members with 11 interviews from this same population, the authors discovered that faculty found more “enjoyment, happiness, pride, satisfaction and relaxation regarding teaching; conversely more frustration, anxiety, worry, fear, envy, shame, loneliness and hopelessness in research” (p. 1490). In addition, the authors suggest that emotion often mediates pretenure faculty members’ approach to their colleagues and to their work and life balance with self-reported success.



The authors of this study center emotion and its regulation as an important component to creating more supportive pretenure programs that spur faculty members toward success. Although emotions are highly subjective and individualized, they play a distinctive role in how pretenure faculty members make meaning of their experiences not only with regard to different aspects of their profession (namely, research and teaching), but with their approach to working with colleagues and issues related to work-life balance. Remaining uninterested in—or in some cases dismissive of—faculty emotion is unrealistic and irresponsible, given its importance in shaping pretenure faculty members’ process toward tenure.

Faculty member participants worked at two public flagship universities in the Midwest. Although this specification “limits the generalizability of results to similar institutions” (p. 1498), many of the emotions faculty members experience are based on their designation as pretenure or on the tenure track. As a result, lessons from this study can be extrapolated and applied to faculty members across many university contexts.

In fall 2014, the authors administered a series of scales to 108 pretenure faculty members and drew a purposeful sample of 11 from this group for interviews. Based on analysis of the quantitative data, the sample for the interviewed faculty was grouped into four categories: high teaching/low research motivations, low teaching/high research motivations, high teaching/high research motivations, and low teaching/low research motivations. From this portion of the study, the authors concluded, “Overall, these results identify a more positive emotional pattern for faculty with respect to teaching than for research” (p. 1505). Findings from this part of the study also informed its quantitative component, which was designed to answer the questions: How do emotions mediate the relationships faculty members have with their peers and self-reported success in research and teaching, respectively, and how do emotions mediate the relationship between faculty members’ experience of work/life balance and self-reported success in research and teaching, respectively?

To answer these questions, the authors surveyed 102 pretenure faculty members, representing a 26.2 percent response rate. Of particular note, the surveyed faculty members “had average contractually-expected efforts of 46.6% teaching, 37.1% research, and 15.9% service” (p. 1503). In addition, these faculty members were mostly female (53 females and 49 males), mostly white (82.4 percent), had an average age of 39, represented at least 12 disciplines, and reported working an average of 50.85 hours per week.

Path models were constructed for the teaching and research domains. Across these models, it was clear that collegiality exerted an effect on emotion that then influenced faculty members’ success in both teaching and research. Interestingly, work/life balance and its influence on emotion as a predictor of success was only notable in the context of research, not teaching.


Having good colleagues is critical to the success of pretenure faculty members. In both research and teaching contexts, collegiality exerted influence on faculty emotions concerning these activities. How do institutional leaders—from presidents to department heads—frame collegiality as a mechanism for supporting faculty members on the road to tenure? What supports are in place to ensure that collegiality is intentional, and not just a byproduct of a handful of extraverted faculty? More than a thought exercise, responsible strategies that effectively curate collegiality appropriate to the experiences of pretenure faculty members should account for power dynamics, politics, and equity issues in addition to the host of cultural nuances each department carries.

Research is challenging for untenured faculty members. Results from this study suggest that faculty members hold more negative emotions about research than teaching. In addition, work-life imbalance issues are often associated with negative emotions that contribute to faculty members’ lack of self-efficacy in the area of research. Metrics for scholarly reach continue to change due to the importance senior faculty members are placing on newer and broader public indicators such as Google Scholar indices, most influential lists, number of Twitter followers, mentions in HuffPost, and so forth. In light of these changing dynamics, institutional leaders should visit and revisit policy manuals, workshops, and annual reviews designed to clarify expectations for promotion and tenure. Not only is clarity important, but the recognition that these changes in metrics of reach might be overwhelming for pretenure faculty members, who—at least in this study—already report working over 50 hours per week.

About the Authors

Robert Stupnisky is an associate professor in the Department of Education, Health, and Behavioral Studies at the University of North Dakota.

Nathan Hall is an associate professor and director of the Learning Sciences graduate program in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill University.

Reinhard Pekrun is professor for personality and educational psychology at the University of Munich and professorial fellow at the Australian Catholic University.

Literature Readers May Wish to Consult

Sax, L. J., L. S. Hagedorn, M. Arredondo, and F. A. Dicrisi. 2002. “Faculty Research Productivity: Exploring the Role of Gender and Family-Related Factors.” Research in Higher Education 43 (4): 423–446.

Umbach, P. D., and M. R. Wawrzynski. 2005. “Faculty Do Matter: The Role of College Faculty in Student Learning and Engagement.” Research in Higher Education 46 (2): 153–184.