US: Studies link part-time lecturers to poor quality

It is no secret that colleges and universities are relying increasingly on part-time instructors or other faculty who are neither tenured nor on track for tenure. But a flurry of recent studies draw troubling conclusions about what kind of impact that is having on the quality of a student's education, reports USA Today.

A study released last week by the American Federation of Teachers, a faculty union, finds that these instructors - dubbed contingent faculty to reflect their limited-term appointments - are pervasive throughout public higher education. Not only do they teach many undergraduate courses, they are also teaching "significant percentages" of classes and students across multiple disciplines.

Meanwhile, other recent studies suggest that over-reliance on part-timers can erode the quality of education for many students. And a report to be released this week by the Modern Language Association is expected to raise concerns about what it calls a "rapidly accelerating trend" toward the use of part-timers in English and foreign-language departments nationwide.
Full report on the USA Today site