"Like inbreeding, if the proliferation of faculty
tiering is problematic for academe, this institution is promoting
faculty tiering, but at a lower rate than national trends. But,
inbreeding and faculty tiering appear to be related, with more inbred
faculty in lower tiered positions."
Academic inbreeding has a long history as an issue and concern
for higher education (Eliot, 1908). Although defined variously,
inbred faculty members possess at least one degree from the academic
institution employing them, most commonly their highest degree (Blau,
1973, 1994). Criticism about "pure" inbred faculty emanates
from the concern that the entire professional experiences of these
scholars were "limited to the confines of a single institution
by virtue of their being recruited directly from the graduating
classes of the employing institution" (Dutton, 1980, p. 2).
"Silver cord scholars," those who have been "recruited
back to their alma mater after having held positions outside their
degree granting institution", (Dutton, 1980, p. 2) are not
included in the controversy because their professional experiences
were not restricted to a single institution. Negative impacts of
inbreeding are assumed for both the institution as well as the individual.
Bridgeland (1982) states that "an implicit attitude against
inbreeding abounds" (p. 288) and "when candidates restrict
their [job] search to the university that granted their highest
, they may be doomed to temporary and misfitting jobs
or ones that underutilize their talents or training" ( p. 289).
Despite these cautions, nationally, the average of inbred faculty
of any kind has been typically 15% (Berelson, 1960; Blau, 1973,
A relatively recent realization within the research on faculty and
the academic workplace is the existence of at least a two-tiered
faculty: tenure-track, full-time faculty and those who are not (Buckless,
Ravenscroft & Baldwin-Morgan, 1996; Burns, 1994; Clark &
Corcoran, 1986; Dupree, 1993; Gappa & Leslie, 1993; Meisenhelder,
1986; Menges & Exum, 1983; Reichard, 1998; Roemer & Schnitz,
1982; Schuster, 1998). The numbers of these non-tenure track and
part-time faculty have been increasing in recent years (Chronister,
1996; Chronister, Baldwin & Bailey, 1992; Gappa & Leslie,
1993; Leatherman, 1999; Leslie & Gappa, 1994). The most often
cited rationale for increases in part-time and non-tenure track
faculty are financial (Chronister, 1996); they cost less than tenure-track,
The proliferation of rising numbers of a second tier faculty on
the academy as a whole is not known. Although non-tenure track or
off-track full and part-time segments of second tier faculty represent
a "significant and growing element of the American academic
profession" (Baldwin & Chronister, 1996, p. 4), these faculty
typically "carry a significant part of the responsibility for
teaching, especially at the lower-division level of undergraduate
education" (Gappa & Leslie, 1993, p. 12). Although not
exclusively part-time professionals, these faculty are often assumed
to be less qualified and less productive. This is not the case (Dupree,
1993; Reichard, 1998), nor should they bear the blame for lowering
academic standards in higher education (Thompson, 1992). In sum,
little research has been done on this relatively new group of second
tier faculty, other than to document their existence (Baldwin &
Chronister, 1996; Rhoades, 1996; Roemer & Schnitz, 1982; Sommer,
Purpose of the Research
Unlike the research focused independently on faculty inbreeding
and faculty tiering, the purpose of this exploratory study was to
reveal potentially invisible relationships among faculty demographics.
Specifically explored were relationships between faculty tiering
in terms of tenure and non-tenure track position types and gender,
ethnicity and academic inbrededness. Using data from a single institution,
we sought answers to multiple questions:
- What are our faculty demographics in terms of tiering, gender,
ethnicity and academic inbreeding?
- In terms of gender, ethnicity and academic inbreeding, what
are the demographics of Tier 1 faculty?
- In terms of gender, ethnicity and inbreeding, what are the demographics
of Tier 2 faculty?
- In what ways do Tier 1 and Tier 2 faculty differ?
- In terms of gender?
- In terms of ethnicity?
- In terms of academic inbreeding?
Review of Related Literature
Two sets of literature framed this research. The first was faculty
tiering which emerges from the labor market research in higher education.
The second was academic inbreeding, the institutional practice of
hiring one's own graduates.
Over the years, numerous national studies have documented the demographics
of faculty (age, race/ethnicity, gender, highest degree held, tenure
status, academic rank) including disparities in compensation, workload,
time allocation, job satisfaction and plans for the future by institutional
type and program area (e.g., the most recent NCES, 1990; NCES, 1991;
NCES, 1998). In many ways, Tier 1 and Tier 2 faculty are similar;
they are mostly white and male (Baldwin & Chronister, 1996).
However, data also depict women and minorities as over represented
in Tier 2 positions (Baldwin & Chronister, 1996; Burns, 1992;
Chronister, Gansneder, Harper & Baldwin, 1997; Clark & Corcoran,
1986; Lomperis, 1990; Menges & Exum, 1983). In fact, in one
study, women were found to comprise 25 percent of Tier 1 faculty
positions but over 40 percent of Tier 2 part-time positions (Lomperis,
In research from 1975 to 1985, the shift in the composition of the
academic labor market from full-time tenure track faculty (Tier
1) to those who are not (Tier 2) has been "unequivocal"
(Lomperis, 1990). Tier 2 faculty are found in all types of institutions,
but, surprisingly are most heavily concentrated at public research
institutions (Baldwin & Chronister, 1996). Although not labeled
as second tier, graduate teaching assistants in research institutions
constitute an invisible element of the Tier 2 faculty (Burns, 1994;
Crannell, 1998). These teaching positions might more aptly be identified
as non-tenure track and part-time faculty positions for the roles
they play in institutions.
Many label Tier 2 faculty "part-timers." They are more
critically dubbed "have-nots" (Bowen & Schuster, 1986;
Leslie & Gappa, 1995; Chronicle, 1996), "second-class"
(Leslie & Gappa, 1994), "proletariat" (Menges &
Exum, 1983), "lowers and reserves" (Meisenhelder, 1986),
"separate, low tier" (Dupree, 1993), "gypsy scholars"
(Sommer, 1994) and "low-status caste" faculty (Gappa &
Leslie, 1993). Many have focused on faculty tiering through the
examination of part-time faculty. Leslie (1978) and Gappa (1984)
independently and collectively (Gappa & Leslie, 1993; Leslie
& Gappa, 1994, 1995) lead in the early research of part-timers.
Their review of policies and procedures regarding part-time faculty
employment at 18 representative colleges and universities documents
"a wildly random collection of institutional and departmental
practices" (Gappa & Leslie, 1993, p. xiii). They also found
that part-time faculty felt "they were being exploited, and
blatantly so" (p. xiii).
Typically Tier 1 faculty engage in the academic triad of teaching,
research and service (outreach), while Tier 2 faculty primarily
teach. They teach undergraduate courses (Gappa & Leslie, 1993),
teach at two or more institutions (Burns, 1994; Thompson, 1992)
and generally carry a teaching load of between one and five courses
(Baldwin & Chronister, 1996). Tier 1 faculty are compensated
on a yearly salary basis regardless of teaching load, while Tier
2 faculty are generally paid per credit hour taught. It is common
for Tier 2 faculty to earn approximately $2000 per course taught,
generally a three-credit hour course (Wilson, 1999b). Conditions
under which Tier 2 faculty do their work are often substandard (Crannell,
1998) and support resources are limited at best (Baldwin & Chronister,
1996), in spite of Tier 2 faculty numbers accounting for 42 percent
of institutional staff in colleges (Schuster, 1998).
There are many occupational designations assigned to second tier
faculty. These titles include "adjunct, part-time, non-tenure
track, and temporary faculty" (Douglas, 1988, p. 1), as well
as "lecturer" and "associate" (Sommer, 1994).
Roemer and Schnitz (1982) denote titles including "visiting
professor," "teaching associate," "doctoral
research staff" and "one year appointment," including
both full and part time employment conditions.
In describing part-timers, Gappa and Leslie (1993) built on the
work of Tuckman (1978), modifying his taxonomy from seven categories
to four. They retained Tuckman's (1978) semiretireds category, calling
them career enders. These individuals were moving out of full-time
positions but were also fully retired or in transition from full-time
to retired status. Another of Tuckman's (1978) categories, full?mooner,
they renamed specialist, expert or professional. These individuals
held a primary, usually full-time career elsewhere but taught "for
the love of it rather than because of a need for income" (Gappa
& Leslie, 1993, p. 48). Gappa and Leslie (1993) called Tuckman's
(1978) hopeful full-timers aspiring academics because, the focus
of their career aspiration is not necessarily to teach full-time
but to be fully participating, recognized, and rewarded members
of the faculty with a status at least similar to that currently
associated with the tenure-track or tenured faculty. (p. 48). Aspiring
academics comprised more than one-quarter of the part-time ranks
and appeared to be more common in large metropolitan areas. Their
final category, freelancers, was a composite of Tuckman's (1978)
part-unknowers, part-mooners and homeworkers. These faculty were
part-time by choice; they are not aspiring to full-time academic
positions (Gappa & Leslie, 1993).
full-time, non-tenure track faculty have been researched most recently
by Chronister, Baldwin, and Bailey (1992). Increasing numbers of
institutions are making such appointments; up to 30 percent of institutional
faculty at some private liberal arts colleges were identified. Lending
to the notion of a tiered faculty, Chronister, Baldwin, and Bailey
(1992) found non-tenure track faculty "felt that they had less
influence on departmental and institutional policies, felt less
involved in departmental faculty meetings and in campus faculty
committees, felt more negative about their teaching loads, and also
felt their salaries were inadequate" (p. 398) when compared
to their tenure track colleagues.
Chronister, Baldwin and Bailey (1992) identified three types of
non-tenure track appointments. The first type was described as "indefinitely
renewable appointments" (p. 384). Faculty with this appointment
type had the potential to renew their contract any number of times.
The second type of appointment was the "restricted renewable
appointments" (p. 384). Faculty with this appointment time
were limited in the number of times their appointment could be renewed.
Their final category was the "folding chair" (p. 384)
which was strictly held to an appointment term and not renewable.
With each of these appointments, there was the "lack of an
explicit expectation of continued employment that a tenure appointment
conveys" (Chronister, Baldwin & Bailey, 1992, p. 384).
Current demographic information estimates that 80 % of American
higher education institutions employ non-tenure track faculty contracted
by semester or year (Baldwin & Chronister, 1996). At the same
time as little as 30 % of undergraduate coursework has been identified
as being covered by tenure-track faculty (Wilson, 1999).
For full-time non-tenure track professionals, Chronister, Baldwin
and Bailey (1992) found there were more obstacles confronted by
these faculty than by faculty on the tenure track. These individuals
were more likely to feel their positions were in jeopardy or feel
trapped in the position they held (p. 395). These individuals were
significantly more likely to be contemplating leaving academia or
wistful about entering academia in the first place (p. 395).
For both full- and part-time second tier faculty, their political
involvement with colleagues and faculty governance structures were
negligible at best (Sommer, 1994) deferring more of this responsibility
to full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty. Second tier faculty
had limited access to fellow faculty members, few interactions in
faculty meetings, and no resources for networking within their chosen
field (Burns, 1994). These conditions can lead to invisibility (Gappa
& Leslie, 1993) and a lack of voice (Douglas, 1988) within the
organization. Such characterizations of individuals and institutions
is not positive for academia or higher education.
Unfortunately, the warnings about the rise of a second tier of faculty
are not isolated to concerns exclusively for individuals or institutions,
but include cautions for academia as a whole (Baldwin & Chronister,
1996; Reichard, 1998; Schuster, 1998). Rhoades (1996) saw the growing
second tier as a "challenge to the academic profession's definition
of faculty lines as full-time, with a secure future" and "an
explicit challenge to tenure as the professional structure that
defines faculty's terms of employment" (p. 627). Reichard (1998)
stated that the creation of a two-tiered faculty "is an insidious
trend that must be resisted in the interest of high-quality education"
(p. 41). From his profiles of research institutions, Reichard (1998)
believed that replacing tenured faculty with a "flexible"
workforce and having a "disproportional presence of part-time
faculty can undermine institutional quality" (p. 42). His argument
continued that as research and teaching are disjointed, problems
arise as "teaching becomes an isolated activity, not connected
to research" (p. 42). Careful monitoring of this phenomenon
of a growing second tier was called for by Baldwin and Chronister
(1996) who saw this trend as transforming "academic careers,
the culture of higher education, and ultimately, the teaching and
learning process" (p. 1).
Schuster (1998) has done extensive study on what he terms as a "transformation"
in higher education, specifically, the increase in part-time faculty
members. By reviewing the rapid rise of part-time faculty within
all types of institutions in the 1971 (22%), 1982 (32%), 1988 (33%),
and 1992 (42%) U.S. Department of Education National Studies of
Postsecondary Faculty, he estimated that a similar rate of increase
would bring the 1997 numbers of part-time faculty up to 45 or 46
% of all faculty. Schuster expected this phenomenon to have "profound"
effects on the professoriate, "albeit resistant to measurement
in meaningful ways" (p. 50).
Schuster (1998) identified three specific issues of concern associated
with the escalating numbers of second tier faculty members. These
concerns included placing tenure at risk, weakening faculty loyalty
and a decline in attractiveness of academic careers (p. 51). Lee
(1983) predicted similar detriments for first tier faculty who would
have greater responsibilities in the absence of first tier colleagues.
Schuster (1998) also looked at prospects for future changes. If
future "economic constraints" (p. 52) and the "perceived
need to assure flexibility in the deployment of instructional staff"
(p. 52) continue, the trend of increasing part-time faculty will
continue undaunted. Many factors fuel this increase, including the
boom in distance education and its influence to move away from the
current role of accreditation in dictating acceptable ratios between
full? and part-time faculty. Schuster (1998) also speculated that
a reversal of this phenomenon could occur if there were certain
shifts in the academic community. A narrowing of the supply and
demand for faculty members may create changes, a higher consciousness
among the academy about the effects of a tiered faculty on the quality
of undergraduate education, and a major push by academic leadership
to make "overdue corrections in the academic labor force"
Starting in the early 1900's, the research on inbreeding documented
its existence and cautioned against its practice (Eliot, 1908; Reeves,
Henry, Kelly, Klein, & Russell, 1933; Eells & Cleveland,
1935; Hollingshead, 1938; Hargens & Farr, 1973; McNeely, 1932).
By mid-century, McGee (1960) and Berelson (1960) suggested that
there might be functional reasons for inbreeding's "prevalence
in the face of odium" (McGee, 1960, p.483). McGee (1960) claimed
that universities which face financial and geographical handicaps
in the national competition for faculty member may inbreed junior
faculty positions to free resources for competition in the national
academic labor market. In his examination of graduate education,
Berelson (1960) concluded that, even though it was believed that
inbreeding had at least as adverse effects on faculty quality in
the best institutions, as in other academic institutions, the top
12 institutions nationally experienced inbreeding "as a statistical
consequence of their dominant position as producers" (p. 116).
Blau's (1973) examination of higher education resulted in additional
insights into academic inbreeding. He asserted that "what promotes
inbreeding in a major department in this country, with its many
universities, is not that graduates of no other department are good
enough but that the members of this department are unwilling to
admit that they are" (Blau, 1973, p. 138). His findings were
more or less inconclusive, but raised two questions which have served
to delineate inbreeding research to date:
- What conditions in academic institutions affect inbreeding?
- What effect does inbreeding have on faculty quality?
Ezrati (1983), Wyer and Conrad (1984a, b), Dagg (1993) and Dutton
(1980) present the latest research in the area of effect. Wyer and
Conrad (1984a) found that when time allocations were adjusted, inbred
faculty were found to be more productive in all areas of scholarly
research than their non-inbred counterparts. Ezrati (1983) examined
the impact of specific personnel policies on women with families
finding that anti-nepotism, inbreeding, leave of absence, part-time
employment and childcare regulations worked against these faculty.
Wyer and Conrad (1984b) further examined the relationship of sex
and institutional origin to productivity finding that male and female
inbred faculty presented significantly different patterns of productivity.
These measures of productivity included 1) scholarly publications,
2) experience and time devoted to research, 3) allocation of time
to tasks, and 4) the previous variables analyzed with salary earnings,
receipt of research funding and services as paid consultants (Wyer
& Conrad, 1984a). Dagg (1993), however, linked these productivity
issues to professional mobility, not inbreeding.
Earlier research by Abramson (1975) and the Carnegie Commission
(1973) related inbreeding issues to equity, focusing specifically
on women because married women, in particular, often attended a
specific university within the geographical area in which they lived
and worked. She also believed that there was some evidence that
this policy was eased more often for men than for women (Abramson,
1975). The report on the status of university women released by
the Carnegie Commission in 1973 recommended "that policies
which prohibit a department from hiring its own graduate students
be reconsidered, since they have often worked to the disadvantage
of women" (p. 131).
Through this history of inbreeding as a taboo, there were some specific
indictments made to establish why such practice was negative for
academia. McNeely (1932) stated that faculty hired from an institution's
own graduates lacked the "broad outlook necessary to academic
achievement" (p. 1). This concern was supported by research
done by Eells and Cleveland (1935), Reeves (1933), and Hollingshead
(1938). All of these studies found lower academic achievement by
inbred faculty members based on indicators such as academic rank
and length of service to the department. Eells and Cleveland (1935)
went further, saying that institutions must exercise vigilance lest
they be "undermined by excessive inbreeding leading to lessened
academic productivity, if not sterility" (p. 328).
These early works on the negative effects of faculty inbreeding
fell in line with the negative connotation the word itself brings
to mind. Through the literature, or lack thereof, it appeared that
for some time, the issue was moot and rarely discussed. No literature
was found on academic inbreeding from 1938 to 1960. While trying
to make the inbred faculty label less demeaning, Gonzalez, Newell?Berghage,
Gallegos and Wooden (1997) preferred to use the term "homegrown"
(p. 51) for this group of faculty. Perhaps the label was more agreeable,
but the realities found in this research were consistent with earlier
works. In terms of the hiring experience, consistently, the homegrown
faculty realized later that they were hired for substantially less
than comparable faculty positions. Many homegrown faculty battled
with the "perception of still being considered a student"
(Gonzalez, Newell?Berghage, Gallegos & Wooden, 1997, p. 53).
Collegiality was also lacking for homegrown faculty who felt they
were expected to "prove themselves" rather than gain assistance
and mentoring given to new incoming faculty members (p. 54). And,
finally, these faculty faced opposition for tenure and promotion.
For the homegrown faculty member, collaboration was more difficult
than expected and resulted in feelings of isolation through the
tenure and promotion process.
Heavy use of part-time faculty blurs the employment picture for
college faculty overall, it denies usually well-qualified part-time
faculty the opportunity to be full participants in the academic
community, and it increases the governance and counseling responsibilities
of full-time faculty. (Lee, 1983, p.32)
The research on second-tier faculty has carefully examined diverse
issues in-depth as they relate to this faculty population including
use and abuse of second-tier employees as well as future needs and
Most recent literature about the college experience stresses the
magnitude of the freshman year of college with respect to improving
undergraduate education, retention of students and college graduation
rates (Goldberg, 1999). The extent to which second tier faculty
are used for undergraduate education, especially lower level courses,
is cause for concern. The quality of education students receive
and their prospects to persist in higher education seem to be inextricably
tied to the quality of the faculty in their early college experiences.
A possible conflict with this perspective is the increasing second
tier of faculty. Further concern may rise from the incidence of
inbred faculty in the second tier faculty.
For purposes of comparison, we sought answers to our research questions
as far back as were possible through our institution's Office of
Institutional Research. Surprisingly, we were able to go back no
further than 1994. Our data sets include Fall semester demographics
for 1994 and 1997.
Given our focus of instructional faculty only, individuals were
included in each semester population by virtue of their assignments
as instructor of record in a course. This included tenure and non-tenure
track positions of all ranks. Faculty on sabbatical and graduate
teaching assistants were excluded. Inbred faculty members were those
whose highest degree attained was granted by our institution. "Tenure
Received" and "On Tenure Track" were combined and
assumed to comprise Tier 1 faculty while the "Not on Tenure
Track" category was assumed to be Tier 2 faculty.
Descriptive statistics were used to establish population demographics
(n, %). The average percentage of faculty found to be inbred nationally
was 10.3% (NCES, 1998). In the southwest region where our institution
is located, an average of 9.7% of all faculty were found to be inbred
The clear intent of examining a single institution's instructional
faculty demographics was to reveal realities about faculty that
might be masked by a collective examination. Following the reporting
of demographic data, the realities revealed will be analyzed critically
in terms of tiering, gender, ethnicity and academic inbreeding.
These analyses follow the findings section.
What are the demographics of our faculty in terms of tier, gender,
ethnicity and academic inbreeding?
In 1997, our instructional faculty were predominantly in Tier 1
positions (81%), male (73%), Caucasian (88%) and held terminal degrees
from other institutions (82%). Those demographics changed little
between 1994 and 1997. The number of instructional faculty at our
institution rose 9% from 1994 to 1997, but that rise was in Tier
2 instructional positions (6%), as national trends would predict
(Schuster, 1998). Interestingly, the number of female instructional
faculty increased (5%) during this timeframe. It seems that at our
institution, more faculty are being hired into Tier 2 instructional
positions and that those instructional faculty are female. The diversity
demographics and inbreededness of instructional faculty remained
stable, changing no more than one percentage point. Table
1 summarizes these data.
What are the demographics of Tier 1 faculty, in terms of gender,
ethnicity and academic inbreeding?
In 1997, 79 percent of Tier 1 faculty were male, 89 percent of these
faculty were Caucasian and 88 percent of Tier 1 faculty held degrees
from other institutions. These demographics were quite stable from
1994 to 1997, changing no more than one percent in any category.
2 summarizes these data.
What are the demographics of Tier 2 faculty, in terms of gender,
ethnicity and academic inbreeding?
From 1994 to 1997, the percent of females in Tier 2 instructional
faculty positions increased 10 percentage points from 39 to 49 percent.
That 10 percentage point increase, however, was a 50 percent increase
in females in Tier 2 positions, from 46 to 93. Virtually half of
the Tier 2 faculty positions are now female. Males also increased
in Tier 2 instructional positions, up 24 faculty or 33 percent.
The ethnic diversity of faculty in Tier 2 positions changed little
during this timeframe and the percentage of faculty with degrees
from other institutions increased eight percentage points. In 1997,
39 percent of Tier 2 instructional faculty were inbred, down eight
percentage points from 1994, and 84 percent of these same faculty
were Caucasian, unchanged from 1994. Table
3 summarizes these data.
How do Tier 1 and Tier 2 faculty differ?
To answer this question, we needed to compare faculty tiers against
each other and the institution.
In terms of gender? In 1994, 78 percent of the faculty at
our institution were male and of that group, 90 percent were in
Tier 1 positions. Three years later, in 1997, 73 percent of the
faculty were male and of that group 87 percent were in Tier 1 positions.
The number of males in instructional faculty positions were decreasing
overall at the institution as well as in Tier 1. The converse was
true for male faculty in Tier 2 instructional positions; their numbers
The numbers of females employed in instructional faculty positions
at our institution was increasing; from 22 percent (202) in 1994
to 27 percent (260) in 1997. Of that group, however, 77 percent
(156) of the female instructional faculty in 1994 were in Tier 1
positions. Three years later, in 1997, that group had decreased
to 64 percent (167). Like the demographics for males, female faculty
in Tier 2 positions have increased as well from 1994 to 1997. However,
unlike male demographics, by 1997, 36 percent of the females employed
at our institution were in Tier 2 positions while only 13 percent
of males were in similar faculty instructional positions. It seems
that females were disproportionately underrepresented in Tier 1
positions and over represented in Tier 2 positions when compared
to their male counterparts. ( Table
4 compares Tier 1 and Tier 2 demographics, Tables 2 and
3 support aspects of these comparisons as well.)
In terms of ethnicity? The diversity of our faculty changed
little from 1994 to 1997. The instructional faculty were predominately
Caucasian (89% in 1994, 88% in 1997). When comparing Tier 1 and
2 diversity demographics, percentage increases in categories were
found in Tier 2 Caucasians, African Americans, Asians, Hispanics
and Nonresident Aliens. The only decrease was noted in Native Americans
where Tier 1 instructional faculty increased from 71 percent to
74 percent or from 15 to 17 faculty. Although numbers were small,
it seemed that increasing diversity demographics (except for Native
American instructional faculty) were in Tier 2 positions.
In terms of academic inbreeding? In 1994, 83 percent of the
faculty at our institution held terminal degrees from other institutions
and of that group, 92 percent were in Tier 1 positions. In 1997,
82 percent of the instructional faculty held terminal degrees from
other institutions and of that group 86 percent were in Tier 1 positions.
Therefore, the number of noninbred faculty, those with terminal
degrees from other institutions, were decreasing institutionally
and in Tier 1 positions. Remarkably, however, despite the fact that
the percentage of faculty with terminal degrees from other institutions
was decreasing institutionally, their numbers and percentages were
rising in Tier 1 faculty instructional positions, from 87 to 88
percent from 1994 to 1997.
The picture for inbred faculty is similar. In 1994, 17 percent of
the faculty at our institution held terminal degrees from our institution
and of that group, 13 percent were in Tier 1 positions. In 1997,
18 percent of the instructional faculty held terminal degrees from
our institution and of that group 12 percent were in Tier 1 positions.
Therefore, the number of inbred faculty were increasing but decreasing
in Tier 1 positions. Tier 2 instructional faculty positions appeared
to be key to understanding academic inbreeding at this institution.
From 1994 to 1997, the numbers of academically inbred faculty rose
one percentage point (from 17 to 18%; from 156 to 172, 16 faculty).
In 1994, 17 percent of the faculty at our institution were inbred
and of that group, 65 percent (101) were in Tier 1 positions. In
1997, the number of inbred faculty had increased one percentage
point to 18 percent but of that group 58 percent (99) were in Tier
1 positions. Inbred faculty were increasing. Where, then, were increases
occurring? They were found in Tier 2 positions where 42 percent
of the inbred faculty could be found. It seemed that if inbred faculty
were hired at our institution in instructional faculty positions,
they were Tier 2 (non-tenure track and/or part-time) positions.
This may be in response to financial constraints noted by Schuster
(1998). ( Table
5 compares Tier 1 and Tier 2 demographics, Tables 2 and
3 support aspects of these comparisons as well.)
We had a predominately male instructional faculty, these faculty
were in predominately tenured or in tenure-track positions, they
held degrees from institutions other than our own and they were
overwhelmingly Caucasian. On the surface these data seem reasonable
and comparable to national norms (NCES, 1998). According to the
most current National Center for Education Statistics data (1998),
46 percent of instructional faculty nationally are in Tier 1 positions.
At our institution, that percentage was 35 percentage points higher,
81 percent. In terms of tiering, our institution has yet to succumb
to the same pressures as other institutions nationally. Our faculty
were 73 percent male and the national norm is 62 percent. The percent
of Caucasian faculty was virtually identical (NCES 87 %, our institution
88%). In terms of academic inbreeding, national norms are 10 percent
while at our institution 18 percent were inbred (NCES, 1998).
A closer examination reveals something else. From 1994 to 1997,
83 new instructional faculty positions were created but 71 of those
faculty positions were non-tenure track and/or part-time Tier 2
positions. Of the 83 new instructional faculty positions, twice
as many were held by females (58 female hires, 25 male hires). Of
the 83 new faculty positions, 16 (19 %) earned degrees from our
institution and 60 (72%) of those faculty were Caucasian.
In sum, we are not making gains in terms of ethnicity. We seem to
be making gains in terms of gender, but at what cost. These new
female faculty are not in full-time tenure track positions. And,
more new faculty hold degrees from our own institution; they are
Tier 1 Faculty
When looking at Tier 1 instructional faculty positions, from 1994
to 1997, the numbers of faculty increased by 12 (9 %). Females gained
all but one of the positions and all but two of these positions
were held by faculty with degrees from other institutions. We had
no increase in Caucasian faculty during this timeframe. The 12 faculty
positions enhanced our institutional demographics by increasing
African American (plus 1), Asian (plus 5), Hispanic (plus 2), Native
American (plus 2), Nonresident Alien (plus 3) numbers. There seemed
to be a focused drive to increase Tier 1 positions in ways that
will diversity our faculty while increasing academic integrity by
not academically inbreeding.
Tier 2 Faculty
However, this same evaluation cannot be made of Tier 2 instructional
faculty. The number of Tier 2 instructional faculty positions increased
by 71 (63 %). Of those 71 faculty, 47 (66 %) were female and 24
(33 %) were male. Almost twice as many women as men were placed
in Tier 2 positions. In this tier, we gained Caucasian faculty during
this time frame (60 of the 71), a demographic addition some would
question. Of the 11 faculty positions that enhanced our institutional
diversity demographics, gains were found in African American (plus
2, 100% increase), Asian (plus 3, 58% increase), Hispanic (plus
1, 100% increase), and Nonresident Alien (plus 4, 60% increase)
categories. The number of faculty with degrees from other institutions
almost doubled while the number of faculty with degrees from our
institution increased by 25 percent. Such gains in inbred faculty
numbers were well over the national norms or percentages recommended
by scholars in the field.
Gender. From 1994 to 1997, the gender of instructional faculty
changed. More women were being employed, but these women were being
employed in Tier 2 positions. In fact, over one third of the female
faculty at this institution were in Tier 2 positions compared to
less than 15 percent of the male faculty. Our institution is employing
fewer males in instructional faculty positions, but males still
outnumbered females in instructional faculty positions at either
level, Tier 1 or Tier 2.
Ethnicity. From 1994 to 1997, the diversity of instructional faculty
changed. More ethnic diversity could be found in both Tier 1 and
Tier 2 positions.
Academic Inbreeding. From 1994 to 1997, the numbers of instructional
faculty holding degrees from our institution increased. Most of
the increases were in Tier 2 faculty instructional positions.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Changes in staffing in terms of tiering, gender, ethnicity and
academic inbreeding were revealed by this distinctly different descriptive
review of institutional demographics. What seemed like small changes,
a percentage point or two, were much more dramatic when viewed through
the lens of tiers, gender, ethnicity and/or academic inbreeding.
For example, between 1994 and 1997, the numbers of males decreased
one percent and the numbers of females increased one percent. What
was not known, however, was that the decrease in males occurred
in Tier 1 positions and the percentage of males in Tier 2 positions
increased (each by 3%). At the same time, the increase in females
(13%) occurred in Tier 2 positions and decreased in Tier 1 positions.
The trends are the same, but the percentages show disparities some
might view as alarming.
In terms of diversity, alarming trends are seen as well. Institutional
demographics would indicate that instructional faculty are predominately
Caucasian. Increases in diversity demographics, however, illustrate
that these new instructional faculty are in both Tier 1 and Tier
2 positions. Although their numbers are low, the percentage point
increases are Tier 2 positions are alarming. More faculty of color
are in all likelihood not on a tenure-track, not full-time and may
possess terminal degrees from our own institution. They would be
classified by many as second class academic citizens. They fulfill
institutional diversity needs, but do not have the same opportunities
to gain in terms of academic position through tenure-track full-time
employment (Chronister, 1996; Sommer, 1994).
Academic inbreeding has become less of an issue over the years as
institutions have more routinely limited the numbers of inbred faculty
in tenure-track positions. However, the rise in second?tier (non-tenure
track and part-time) faculty may be altering this reality. Inbred
faculty reflect strikingly different demographics than those for
the institution as a whole. They appear more likely to be female
and in non-tenure track positions than their noninbred counterparts.
And, in some cases, inbred faculty reflect diversity demographics
for the institution as a whole. If academic inbreeding is not a
good institutional strategy, unfortunately, our institution is practicing
it beyond the current national norms, but within the historical
15 percent margin. These numbers, however, appear to be rising.
Like inbreeding, if the proliferation of faculty tiering is problematic
for academe, this institution is promoting faculty tiering, but
at a lower rate than national trends. But, inbreeding and faculty
tiering appear to be related, with more inbred faculty in lower
tiered positions. At this institution, inbreeding has a better chance
of leading to non-tenure track, full or part-time positions. These
positions also appear to be offered more often to women and some
minorities than is typical for the institution as a whole. This
relationship needs further examination.
Our focus on instructional faculty was purposeful in that we wanted
to reveal the characteristics of faculty teaching both undergraduate
and graduate coursework. At our institution, we believe in addition
to being concerned about the rise in people of color and academically
inbred faculty in Tier 2 instructional faculty positions, students
and their education may also be negatively impacted. If academic
inbreeding is not a wise practice for traditional Tier 1 faculty,
why would it be appropriate for Tier 2 faculty who are primarily
responsible for undergraduate instruction? This relationship needs
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Dr. Debra J Blanke is a professor at Midwest City.
Dr. Adrienne E. Hyle is a professor at Oklahoma State University.
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