Non-Tenure Track Faculty Conference

In the past few years, many US Colleges and Universities, including R-1s, have hired faculty in non-tenure track positions. In 2016 alone, higher education institutions hired 52,376 full-time academicians, of which 59 percent were full-time non-tenure track and 41 percent were full-time tenure-track. Now nearly three-quarters of faculty are serving in part- and full-time contingent roles. Furthermore, even among this new faculty majority, almost half of the instructional workforce is part-time with another 20 percent holding full-time contingent positions. Non-tenure track faculty typically hold teaching intensive positions; and a few may be research intensive. The working conditions for full-time non-tenure track faculty are noticeably better, with longer contracts after initial periods that can range from as little as a semester to three or more years. Yet their term-based appointments offer few opportunities for professional development. To address this gap, we at VCU are organizing an annual conference this year (2023). 

The terminology non-tenure track is utilized as an inclusive umbrella phrase to account for the numerous titles and vocabulary used across campuses where full-time faculty hold titles of adjunct, instructor, lecturer, term, and so on. Starting in 2024, we plan to open the conference to faculty beyond VCU, so it is essential that all are welcome to join regardless of the assigned title categories used by other institutions.


American Association of University Professors. (11, October, 2018). Retrieved from:

“National Study of Postsecondary Faculty,” National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016, 2018-12-12.

Finkelstein, M.J., Conley, V.M., and Schuster, J.H. (2016). Taking the measure of faculty diversity. TIAA-CREF Institute. Retrieved March 12, 2021,

Chun, Edna and Alvin Evans. Piecemeal: The Challenges of Minoritized Contingent Faculty in Higher Education. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press (Series: Navigating Careers in Higher Education.