"Faculty Types in Higher Education: The Impact of Tenure-Track Teaching Professors on Undergraduate Learning and Engagement Outcomes"
Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP) 43rd Conference
March 15-17, 2018
Presentation: Faculty Types in Higher Education: The Impact of Tenure-Track Teaching Professors on Undergraduate Learning and Engagement Outcomes
Authors: Sabrina Solanki, Di Xu
During the past three decades, one of the most pronounced trends in post-secondary institutions is increasingly diversified faculty composition. Nowadays, a college student may take a course with traditional tenure-track research faculty, non-tenure-track lecturers, as well as the newly emerging category of faculty who are hired in tenure-track teaching positions. Do college students learn similarly from different types of instructors? Based on a large college administrative dataset with detailed instructor employment information, this study uses six cohorts of student-level data at a large public research institution to examine whether instructor type—i.e., tenure-track research faculty, tenure-track teaching faculty, and contingent faculty—influences student current and subsequent learning and engagement outcomes. We focus on the first course a student takes in a specific field of study and use a two-way fixed effects model to account for selection both at the student-level and at the course-level. Our results indicate that student outcomes are related to faculty type. Specifically, students who take their introductory course with a tenure-track teaching professor or contingent faculty member are more likely to enroll in a second course in the same field of study than students who take an introductory course with a tenure-track research professor. Further, students who take their introductory course with a tenure-track teaching professor earn higher grades in the second course, although the effect size is marginal. These results, in addition to specific policy implications, will be discussed during the AEFP presentation.