"Is College STEM Education in Crisis? Diversified Instructor Profiles and Student Academic Outcomes"
AERA 2018 Annual Meeting: “The Dreams, Possibilities, and Necessity of Public Education”
April 13-17, 2018
Title: Is College STEM Education in Crisis? Diversified Instructor Profiles and Student Academic Outcomes
Authors: Di Xu, Xiaotao Ran
Decades of research has been devoted to examining teacher quality in mathematics and science at the K-12 level, while discussions about the same issue at the postsecondary level are much more limited. Is teacher quality indeed not a problem in college? Prompted by the steady increase in non-tenure-track faculty in higher education, this paper examines how initial exposure to a field with different types of instructors influences follow-on performance in a large state public college system. Our results indicate that temporary adjuncts have significant negative impacts on subsequent course enrollment and performance compared with either long-term non-tenure faculty or tenure-track faculty across a variety of fields. Such negative impacts are particularly large in STEM related fields at four-year colleges.