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Teaching on Contract: Job Satisfaction Among Non-tenure-track Faculty

Professional Work: Knowledge, Power and Social Inequalities

ISBN: 978-1-80043-211-6, eISBN: 978-1-80043-210-9

ISSN: 0277-2833

Publication date: 15 October 2020


Over the past several decades, there has been a growth in nonstandard professional work. One area where this can be seen is the academy, where tenure-track positions are being replaced by non-tenure-track (NTT) positions such as adjuncts and lecturers. Studies of nonstandard professional workers have found significant variation in job satisfaction, and this is also true for NTT faculty. Why is job satisfaction among NTT faculty so variable, and how can we understand it? Drawing on in-depth interviews with one hundred NTT faculty at two large public research universities, the author argues that NTT faculty vary in two important ways: the role of the income from their NTT job in their family and their pathway to the NTT position. The author develops a typology of NTT faculty based on these two dimensions and argues that these two dimensions intersect in important ways that affect the job satisfaction and job experiences of NTT faculty. The only group of NTT faculty that experiences high job satisfaction are those who prefer a NTT position over a tenure-track one, and who do not rely on the income from this job as the primary source of income for their family. This research has implications for understanding the job satisfaction of other nonstandard professional workers, who may vary in similar ways.



Klainot-Hess, E. (2020), "Teaching on Contract: Job Satisfaction Among Non-tenure-track Faculty", Gorman, E.H. and Vallas, S.P. (Ed.) Professional Work: Knowledge, Power and Social Inequalities (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 34), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 59-82.



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