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ERIC Number: EJ903322
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-1383
Academic Researchers Speak
Bergom, Inger; Waltman, Jean; August, Louise; Hollenshead, Carol
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v42 n2 p45-49 2010
Non-tenure-track (NTT) research faculty are perhaps the most under-recognized group of academic professionals on the campuses today, despite their increasingly important role within the expanding academic research enterprise. The American Association for the Advancement of Science reports that the amount of federal spending on R&D has more than doubled since 1976. The government now spends about $140 billion yearly on R&D, and approximately $30 billion of this amount goes to universities each year in the form of grants and contracts. This amount does not include non-federally sponsored grants and contracts, which fund a smaller--but still significant--portion of university research. Contingent research faculty are key players in much of this funded research. Given their significant role, administrators need to think and act more strategically about creating and maintaining satisfying career tracks for them. As part of a study of NTT faculty funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the authors held focus groups with both instructional and research contingent faculty on the campuses of twelve research universities. Their goal was to hear what non-tenure-eligible professionals themselves say about their academic careers in order to add their voices to the national discussion about contingent faculty. In the process, the authors report their findings after speaking with a total of 123 research faculty at eleven of the institutions. They found that most research faculty enjoy many of the aspects of their jobs that come with working at academic institutions: (1) collegial communities of scholars and researchers; (2) well-resourced environments that facilitate productivity and efficiency; and (3) the autonomy and freedom to explore scientific questions. However, they also learned about NTT researchers' challenges, including job security due to having to raise their own salaries through grants, an absence of clear and consistent policies articulating their appointment and advancement terms, a lack of peer networking, and a general sense that they are marginalized and treated as second-class academic citizens
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A