How Schools are Deploying Non-Tenure Track Faculty

A closer look at how the five schools profiled here make use of their part-time and non-tenure-track faculty.

HERE’S A CLOSER LOOK at how the five schools profiled here make use of their part-time and non-tenure-track faculty:


Pace University’s New York City location means the Lubin School of Business has access to a very wide range of business executives who potentially could serve as adjunct faculty in the classroom. The school takes advantage of that bounty, currently employing 83 adjuncts in addition to its 110 full-time faculty.

“Students often tell me that the professors they appreciate most are those with real-world knowledge who draw on their practical experience,” says Neil Braun. “Even for our tenure-track positions we look for candidates who have business and professional experience in their disciplines. When we’re hiring full-time clinical or adjunct faculty, our primary criterion is experience in translating the theoretical into the practical. When it comes to adjunct faculty, it is a baseline requirement.”


Like most European schools, Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM) in France has no tenure track. It divides its faculty into three categories: supporting faculty and participating faculty, as defined by AACSB; and guest professionals, who spend less than 15 hours with the school during the academic year. Within the participating group are permanent faculty who are on long-term contracts with GEM and consider it their primary or sole employer; and affiliated faculty, who might be close to working full-time but are not considered permanent and have contracts elsewhere. All other participating faculty, as well as all supporting and guest professionals, are part-time.

For the 2015-16 academic year, the school employed 262 participating faculty, 19 supporting faculty, and 193 guest professionals. GEM recently adopted AACSB’s 2013 faculty classifications, and more than half of the participating faculty are classified as scholarly academics.

At GEM, each module is supervised by a participating faculty member who is in charge of writing the syllabus, defining assessment goals, and making other key decisions. Generally speaking, participating faculty cover 75 percent of the teaching hours; supporting and guest faculty take care of the rest. “It wouldn’t be possible to cover everything with only our participating and full-time faculty, nor would that be our wish,” says Julie Perrin-Halot. “Having a diversity of profiles and experience is a real strength in our program.”


Deploying faculty is a huge undertaking at Curtin Business School (CBS), which delivers programs to more than 13,000 students in the business school and courses to another 4,000 students in the larger university. It operates in multiple locations: the main campus in Bentley, Australia, a suburb of Perth; locations in Perth and other Australian cities; offshore campuses in China, Malaysia, Mauritius, and Singapore; and online.

As of February 2016, the school deployed 559 full-time and part-time faculty, with a very different mix of faculty at each location. For instance, the Bentley campus has a high concentration of scholarly academics, but offshore locations have more faculty from other classifications. Somewhat less than half of all faculty are part-time, many of them “teaching assistants” who take appointments of two years or less to teach specific courses. Before they can be appointed for another two years, or before they can teach a different class, they must go through a second approval process.

With so many faculty distributed over such a wide footprint, one of the challenges is managing quality in all locations, says Grant O’Neill. To make sure there is a “commonality of practice” across all campuses, teaching materials and assessment rubrics are designed at the Bentley and Perth locations, then rolled out to satellite campuses, although case studies with local context are incorporated into the courses delivered offshore.

The school also invites offshore faculty to participate in curriculum design. All faculty undergo training that covers everything from behaving ethically to using new technology. For instance, the Foundations of Learning and Teaching program focuses on topics such as understanding assessment issues, integrating global and indigenous perspectives into the curriculum, and achieving teaching excellence.

Through the Offshore Induction Onshore program, the school brings staff from satellite locations to the Bentley campus for training, and it also offers material online. In addition, the school provides faculty who are teaching offshore with curriculum information, learning guides, assessment guides, and tutorials for all their classes.



CBS also maintains a detailed evaluation process, reviewing random assessments sent back from each location and surveying students about everything from their coursework to their satisfaction with the facilities. Says O’Neill, “We use layers of quality assurance to ensure students get a comparable experience at every location.”


At UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, the faculty are divided between “ladder-rank” faculty—traditional full-time tenured and tenure-track individuals—and professional faculty. Among the professionals are lecturers, hired solely to teach specific courses, and the adjuncts, who teach and run research programs. Currently, the school has close to 90 ladder faculty, about 120 lecturers, and six adjuncts.

There are also two tiers among the lecturer group, and these were created by the union contract that covers the ten UC campuses. “The contract creates a kind of analog to the tenure system for ladder faculty,” says Jay Stowsky.

When lecturers are hired, for their first 12 semesters they work on semester-by-semester contracts. At that point, if the school determines it will need them on a continuing basis, it conducts an excellence review that is similar to a tenure review process. If the lecturers are approved, they achieve continuing status and can receive base appointments that they can depend on, with the knowledge that they will be teaching a certain number of courses every fall and spring.

Currently, about 40 Haas lecturers have continuing status; Stowsky expects ten more to gain it within the next two years. Professional faculty have their own formal governance structure, the Professional

Faculty Advisory Committee on Teaching (PFACT). The six elected representatives serve for staggered two-year terms in a manner that mirrors the Policy and Planning Committee for ladder faculty. Both organizations are involved in governance questions around academic policy, planning, and curriculum decisions.

Stowsky’s bottom line is that he wants professional faculty to stay at Berkeley, not just for the paycheck, “but because they love the students and they believe in what we’re doing. Many of them are making good incomes in the business world, so they teach here because they want to give back. For many of our professional faculty, especially those who teach in our undergraduate program, there’s a sense of mission. They believe strongly in the mission of the University of California to bring kids into the middle class.”


The School of Management at Uniandes employs 64 full-time and 96 part-time professors. In the full-time group, 55 are either tenured or tenure-track, and nine are part of the new categories for teaching professors and specialist professors.

The part-time faculty are primarily drawn from the corporate world; they teach executive education programs, are only on campus for a few hours a week, and have no responsibilities related to research or institutional development.

But that could change as they’re encouraged to become more engaged in the life of the school. “They know the school and they are closely related to the corporate world, so we want greater participation from them,” says Eric Rodríguez. When the school invites them to work on committees and join curriculum discussions, he says, “they can become like consultants for the academic programs.”

As business schools strive to offer exceptional educational experiences, all that adjuncts have to offer should not be overlooked, say these educators. The key is to find the best ways to involve adjuncts in—and apply their expertise to—each school’s larger mission.