Inside Higher Ed recently featured the Delphi Project, a partnership of the USC Rossier School and the Association of American Colleges and Universities, which has released a report on the need for a better higher education model to support students. Adrianna Kezar, director of the project, said that the current system has a significant problem regarding adjuncts.
“How can we better working conditions [for adjuncts] that can improve student learning? This is one of the main questions we are looking at,” said Adrianna Kezar, director of the project and an associate professor of higher education at USC. “Not only will we look at where we need to go but how we can get there. This is an effort to look at the whole system,” she said.
So what will this new model look like?
There is no definite agreement yet, but it could resemble full-time faculty members with multiyear contracts who are closely integrated with university life, Kezar said. “Academic unions might favor tenure-track jobs, for example. But there is broad agreement that the existing three-tier faculty system is not working,” she said, referring to tenure-track faculty, full-timers not on tenure, and adjuncts
But before this new model can be developed, the project needs to collect more data to better understand the existing situation. “There are gaps in knowledge and understanding. We hope to fill these gaps,” Kezar said. “For example, we know that students have less access [out of the classroom] to non-tenure-track faculty, but we have no direct data on how this affects student learning.”