Faculty in Higher Education

faculty in higher educationFaculty is an essential component to higher education although the definition of their employment continues to morph into something different than its humble beginnings. During the Colonial era, faculty received little pay for their vocation. There were few professors. Most of the faulty consisted of tutors who were “thankful for their subsistence” (Cohen & Kisker, 2010, p 30). Despite the feeble pay schedule the duties of these professionals outweighed many of the duties of current faculty members. They not only taught the students but frequently lived with them, monitored their students’ comportment and discipline and were even frequently discouraged from marrying as they had to watch these boarded students all day. The question is should faculty be expected to sacrifice self for the greater good of society?

Today, faculty positions show the changing needs of society. Although still held in high esteem by society and its members, “the majority of higher education faculty are not on the tenure track” (Cohen & Kisker, 2010, p 485). Many of these positions are being held by consultants or even teachers who hold limited contracts. Some older professors are even encouraged to leave the professions in exchange for an early retirement package. The benefit to the institution is the ability to lower the costs of education (Trower, 2001).

Despite this change in the position, many seek professions within higher education because the amenities are beneficial. They boast of finding the environment to be both stimulating to the intellect as well as good to be surrounded by professionals within their field (United States Department of Labor, 2009). Other benefits -both official and unofficial -include tuition reimbursement, subsidized housing, sabbatical leaves, long vacations, flexibility, etc (Cohen & Kisker, 2010, p 272).


Cohen, A. & Kisker, C. (2010). The shaping of American higher education: Emergence and growth of the contemporary system. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Trower, C. (2001). Negotiating the Non-Tenure Track. Retrieved from chronicle.com/article/Negotiating-the-Non-Tenure/45495/

United States Department of Labor. (2009). Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition. Retrieved from www.bls.gov/oco/ocos066.htm


Tracy Harrington-Atkinson

Tracy Harrington-Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the mid-west with her husband. She loved storytelling and sharing her stories with her children. As they grew, she started writing her stories down for them. She is a teacher, having taught from elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education, masters in higher education and continued on to a PhD in curriculum design. Her husband, Kerry and Tracy breed miniature dachshunds and love to spend time with their growing family. She has published several books including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Rachel's 8 and Securing Your Tent.

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