"Faculty Types in Higher Education: The Impact of Tenure-Track Teaching Professors on Undergraduate Learning and Engagement Outcomes"
APPAM Regional Student Conference
Claremont Graduate School
March 9-10, 2018
Presentation Title: Faculty Types in Higher Education: The Impact of Tenure-Track Teaching Professors on Undergraduate Learning and Engagement Outcomes
Authors: Sabrina M. 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.