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ERIC Number: ED566465
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 185
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3394-3414-8
Flexibility for Survival: State Funding and Contingent Faculty Employment at Public Higher Education Institutions
Frye, Joanna R.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan
The dynamics of state funding for public higher education in the United States are changing. Per-student state appropriations to higher education have decreased over the past few decades and have become increasingly volatile from year to year. As public higher education institutions seek ways to educate more students with fewer and less predictable resources, a strategy that has gained momentum is the hiring of faculty employed in contingent (part-time or full-time non-tenure track) positions. Although decreasing state support is often cited as a primary force driving public higher education institutions' increased hiring of contingent faculty, researchers have not systematically examined this relationship. This study addresses this gap in understanding by examining how changes and volatility in state funding have influenced faculty hiring at public institutions over the last two decades. I estimate the relationship between state appropriations and institutions' faculty employment patterns by analyzing a panel of institution- and state-level data spanning 1994-2013. Employing a two-way fixed effects regression model, I estimate the relationship between state appropriations and five dependent variables: numbers of part-time faculty, full-time non-tenure track faculty, and tenure track faculty, and the proportions of part-time faculty and full-time non-tenure track faculty. I estimate each model for the full sample of public institutions, then separately by public institution type: research institutions, four-year non-research institutions, and community colleges. This study provides evidence of a systematic relationship between state appropriations to higher education and public institutions' faculty employment patterns, consistent with study hypotheses informed by resource dependence theory. The findings suggest that when state appropriations decrease or become more volatile, public institutions employ greater proportions of part-time and non-tenure track faculty and fewer tenure track faculty. This study found these relationships to be stronger for public non-research institutions and community colleges than public research institutions. This study quantifies the long-term effects of declining state support for public higher education and has important implications for higher education equity. State funding cuts are often made in response to short-term state budget crises but may have long-term consequences for the quality of public higher education over time. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A