Chad Evans

Graduate Student  -  Sociology and Statistics  -  University of Pennsylvania

email echad@sas.upenn.edu  -  office 280 McNeil Building -  phone 215.584.6986

Data Resources Available for Examining Adjunct Faculty


Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS): IEDS is collected annually by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).  Here, researchers gather information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs.  The survey has information on enrollment, program completions, graduation rates, faculty and staff, finances, institutional prices, and student financial aid and institutional characteristics.  Available at the institutional level, this data source provides a “census” of the faculty population.  IPEDS will be very useful for understanding absolute numbers of faculty, but without faculty-level data, it will not allow us to learn much about specific kinds of non-tenure-track faculty.


Adjunct Project:  The Adjunct Project, organized by the Chronicle of Higher Education, collects information freely offered by those working part-time in higher education.  There is no sampling frame, faculty simply go to the website and input information about their job into the online survey form.  While this organization has collected information from a large number of part-time, contingent faculty, they have only collected information on salary, benefits and working conditions.  Furthermore, these data are only collected at a single time point.


Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED): The SED, not to be confused with SDR, is an annual census of faculty receiving doctorate degrees.  This instrument has been issued since 1957 and the data are cross-sectional.  Organized by the NCES, SED collects information on the doctoral recipient's educational history, demographic characteristics, and post-graduation plans. Its results are used to assess characteristics of the doctoral population and trends in doctoral education and degrees.


The Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR): The SDR is a longitudinal biennial survey (panel data) conducted since 1973.  It contains demographic and career history information on individuals with a research doctoral degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field from a U.S. academic institution. The survey follows a sample of individuals with STEM doctorates throughout their careers from the year of their degree award until age 76.


National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF): NSOPF is the most comprehensive study of faculty in postsecondary educational institutions ever conducted.  The instrument was first issued to a random sample in 1988 and these faculty were followed-up in 1993, 1999 and 2004.  The panel design allowed for longitudinal data analysis and and inferences were valid for the entire population of postsecondary faculty.  Regrettably, this funding for this survey was not renewed and 2004 remains that last time point we have measurements on.


Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) Faculty Survey: HERI is a proprietary dataset managed by the eponymous institute at UCLA.  The survey was originally designed to collect cross-sectional data on tenured and tenure-track faculty teaching undergraduate students in the United States.  The first survey was issued in 1989.  Since that time, however, the institute has recognized the importance of fixed-term faculty and has begun to collect information on them as well.  More information is also available on community colleges, where non-tenure-track faculty are most prevalent.  Despite the inclusion of substantial numbers of contingent faculty, the survey still does not randomly sample from this population, so it is unclear which population inferences should be drawn to.


Survey of Contingent Faculty Members and Instructors (CAW): CAW, a survey named for its administrator, the Coalition on the Academic Workforce, contains a rich set of information on postsecondary faculty and instructors.  These data were collected in 2010.  It contains information on the work patterns, remuneration, and employment of all kinds of faculty.  However, the design did not utilize a sampling frame, so the information is not representative of postsecondary faculty as a whole.  These data are also cross-sectional.


Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) Survey:  First administered in 2004, the CASTL survey collected information on the professional life of scholars of teaching and learning. The focus of this instrument is clearly on teaching strategies, teaching support among colleagues and administrators and attitudes.  The survey does, however, ask several questions about tenure and these may be useful for identifying trends and patterns.  The design is not longitudinal and its support of career-related changes is limited.

American Academic Survey: The American Academic Survey was administered by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in 2010.  It contains information on the job conditions, compensation and attitudes of part-time and adjunct faculty working at two- and four-year higher education institutions.  The data are cross-sectional and only interviewed a total of 500 faculty, making it a relatively small sample.  No tenure or tenure-track faculty were included in this study.

Faculty Compensation Survey:  The Faculty Compensation Survey is an instrument administered yearly by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).  In addition to collecting information on the pay and benefits of postsecondary faculty, it also contains a range of other relevant information.  This survey is open to all faculty, however the survey does not utilize a probability sample, so results are not generalizable to all faculty.  


Adjunct Faculty Survey: The Adjunct Faculty Survey was conducted by the Adjunct Faculty Association (AFA) in 2013.  Its purpose was to complement survey data collected in other studies of adjunct faculty members.  The Adjunct Faculty Survey focuses on the areas of professional development, employment, benefits and employee group activities.  It is cross-sectional and does not include tenure and tenure-track faculty.