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NEA Higher Ed Research Updates

Update Vol.11 #4
"Academic Freedom and Higher Education Employees" December 2007
This report focuses on academic freedom challenges that higher education faculty and academic professionals are facing. State legislatures have considered a series of measures that would have seriously impaired academic freedom. Read this research brief for more information about NEA policy on academic freedom, Supreme Court cases, model contract language, and state legislative threats.

Update Vol.11 #3
"Part-Time Faculty: A Look at Data and Issues" September 2007

The data in this Research Center Update shows that public two-year institutions employ the greatest number of part-time faculty (67%). The vast majority of part-time faculty hold instructor or lecturer positions. Part-time faculty stay with the same institution for at least seven years. So what's happening to tenure and compensation? Read this research brief for more insight into the data and its impact on organizing the academy.
Update Vol.11 #2
"A Unified European Higher Education Area in 2010"
What does it mean for Europe and for U.S. higher education? November 2005
Known as the Bologna Process, plans are being developed to replace diverse national university models with a single higher education models that offers a three-year European bachelor's degrees and a two-year master's. Forty-five nations across Europe and Asia have joined this initiative. Corporate influence, an ambition timetable, and faculty autonomy are just some of the concerns raised in this report.

Update Vol.11 #1
"Findings from the 2004 NEA Higher Education Member Survey" March 2005
This report examines the findings of the 2004 NEA Higher Ed Member Survey. The results reveal how members feel about many aspects of their job, including job satisfaction. The survey also looks at what members think about student preparation and appreciation for learning.

Update Vol.10 #5
"Faculty Salaries" December 2004
In 2003-04, the average faculty salary rose 2.1% compared to the previous year. This report takes a close look at how faculty salaries stack up at both public and private colleges and universities, as well as how they compare to the earnings of graduate degree holders in the private sector.

Update Vol.10 #4
"Proprietary Education: Threat, or Not?" September 2004
This report focuses on the differences between proprietary verses traditional public higher education.  The newly emerging for-profit sector of higher ed competes directly for the older adult student looking for a part-time degree program offered in the evening.

Update Vol.10 #3
"Institutional Graduation Rates" May 2004
This recent report looks at the impact of graduation rates by race/ethnicity and gender. Fifty years after the landmark Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision, Blacks and Hispanics still graduate college at a much lower rate than Whites and Asians. Also evident in this report, based on NCES data, women have a higher graduation rate than men.

Update Vol.10 #2
"Higher Education and Privatization" March 2004
This recent report looks at the impact that privatization of higher education is having on the faculty workforce, shared governance, and decision making. The political and economic environment of the state also play a role in privatization efforts.

Update Vol.10 #1
"Rethinking Graduation Rates as Accountability Measures" January 2004
This report explains why the congressional initiatives to use graduation rates as an accountability measure is a bad idea. Look at the data that illustrates how institutional graduation rates underestimate the true rate of attaining a college degree.

Update Vol.9 #5
"Why Are College Prices Increasing and What Should We Do About It?" December 2003
This report explains how the ability of most public colleges to hold down tuition costs is directly related to the state funding they receive. It also explains how proposed government tuition price controls would affect institutions depending on tuition revenue for operational costs more adversely than institutions that, historically, have high tuition and large endowment funds.

Update Vol.9 #4
"Faculty Salaries, 2002-03" September 2003
Over a 30-year period, the average salaries (in constant 2002-03 dollars) for full-time faculty on 9/10-month contracts increased a dismal 4.6%, with professors and instructors accounting for the increase. Non-ranking faculty, assistant and associate professors showed a decrease in spending power by as much as 13.8%. The average salary for woman still remains lower than men. This report is based on the early release of the U.S. Department of Education, Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System, salary data file.

Update Vol.9 #3
"Higher Education: Who Benefits?" May 2003
Who pays? The debate on how much society and the individual should pay for higher education when both parties benefit makes funding higher education extremely complicated. This report focuses on who benefits, who pays, and the societal impact as more students from disadvantaged households are priced out of a college education.

Update Vol.9 #2
"The Other Staff" February 2003
Administrators were the fastest growing employment group on higher education campuses, representing a 48 percent increase since 1993. Other professionals who are not administrators grew 36 percent, while faculty grew 14 percent over the same period. This report analyzes data from the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics 2001 Fall Staff in Postsecondary Institutions survey.

Update Vol.9 #1
"Access and Choice" January 2003
This report illustrates how the nation continues to struggle with academic and financial access to a college education. Low-income students face large financial barriers. Increasing tuition costs have offset increases in student aid. Loans are the largest source of student aid for public two and four year institutions.

Update Vol.8 #3
"The Promise and the Reality of Distance Education" October 2002
The reality of distance education is far from the high expectations set by many of the start-up dot.coms of the mid 1990s. This report makes an assessment of the successes and failures of the for-profit and nonprofit education institutions offering distance education.

Update Vol.8 #2
"Faculty Satisfaction" May 2002
According to the Department of Education's fall 1999 National Survey of Postsecondary Faculty, 85% of all full- and part-time faculty members indicate overall job satisfaction. Faculty were most dissatisfied with salaries, time to keep current in their field, and the effectiveness of faculty leadership.

Update Vol.8 #1
"Instructional Technology Comes of Age" February 2002
This report reviews the chief academic officers' perceptions of how well prepared the faculty were to use technology as a resource. It also presents an overview of how chief academic officers perceived the use of information technology on the campus.

Update Vol.7 #5
"Faculty Retirement: Loss or Opportunity?" December 2001
The facts speak clearly: faculty retirement will not cause a major loss of teaching talent over the next few years. Faculty moving to other higher education institutions and going to other industries represent a greater loss than faculty retirement. This report analyzes the data from the Department of Education's National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF:99).

Update Vol.7 #4
"Part-time Faculty" September 2001
Part-time faculty members in this country's higher education institutions comprised 39 percent of all faculty. The number of part-time faculty increased 22 percent while the number of full-time faculty only increased 4 percent. This report discusses the role part-time faculty members play in colleges and universities. Data is based on the Department of Education's National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF:99).

Update Vol.7 #3
"Tenure" June 2001
More faculty members are teaching at institutions that do not offer tenure. Yet tenured faculty publish more and serve on more committees than faculty not on the tenure track or those without tenure. This report analyzes faculty tenure data from the Department of Education's National Study of Postsecondary Faculty 1998-99.

Update Vol.7 #2
"Focus on Distance Education" March 2001
As a follow-up to the NEA survey on Distance Education, this report delves deeper into faculty concerns about human contact, training and support, compensation and property rights, enrollment limits, and quality.

Update Vol.7 #1
"Higher Education on the Web" February 2001
Public 2-year and private 4-year institutions are playing a leading role in distance education. This report identifies some of the barriers to distance education and discusses the impact the Internet has on the way colleges and universities do business.

Update Vol.6 #5
"Enrollment Projections" November 2000
By the year 2010, the number of higher education faculty will need to increase by 11,600 to keep up with the 17.5 million students enrolled in colleges and universities nationwide. Some states will show huge growths, while many states will remain relatively the same or show a decline in student enrollment.

Update Vol.6 #3
"The American Faculty Poll" June 2000
This excerpt of The American Faculty Poll, sponsored by TIAA-CREF, surveys the attitudes and opinions faculty have towards their career, professional life, work environment, institutional policies and priorities. Get the full report at

Update Vol.6 #2
"Distance Education at Postsecondary Education Institutions: 1997-98" April 2000
This report presents the findings from the National Center for Education Statistics survey on distance education for the 1997-98 academic year. While distance education offerings are becoming more commonplace, questions regarding costs, quality assurance, faculty challenges, and intellectual property still must be addressed.

Update Vol.5 #3
"Eleventh Amendment Immunity and Academic Freedom" October 1999
Some very troubling decisions have been made by the High Court that illustrate a disturbing trend in curtailing the free speech rights of college and university faculty. This report summarizes some of the most recent court decisions.

Update Vol.5 #2
"Higher Education Staff" September 1999
The number of higher education employees increased very slightly between 1993 and 1997, as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics 1997 Fall Staff in Postsecondary Institutions. This report pays attention to staffing patterns in states with right to work laws compared to those without.

Update Vol.5 #1
"Campus Policies Related to Academic Uses of Information Technology" March 1999
Based on data from the 1998 Campus Computing survey, this report illustrates the need to improve campus policies related to the academic use of information technology.

Update Vol.4 #5
"NEA Survey of Higher Education Members and Leaders" October 1998
This report examines our members' and leaders' opinions on governance issues, factors that effect quality education, and attitudes about the "new unionism".

Update Vol.4 #4
"Faculty in Academe" September 1998
This report reviews the current characteristics of faculty members in higher education institutions compared to those twenty years ago, revealing changes in part-time faculty as well as women and minority faculty members.

Update Vol.4 #3
"Non-Instructional Staff in Higher Education" May 1998
This report reviews non-instructional employees in higher education institutions and looks specifically at the characteristics of those newly hired.

Update Vol.4 #2
"Part-time Faculty: Quality Issues" March 1998
A recent NEA study of part-time faculty in four states reveals interesting results on quality.

Update Vol.4 #1
"Distance Education in Higher Education Institutions" February 1998
This Update reports on the recent NCES study that surveyed distance education courses offered by higher education institutions.

Update Vol.3 #5
"Full-time Non-Tenure-Track Faculty: Gender Differences" November 1997
An analysis of the structure and composition of full-time faculty on American college and university campuses, and the important changes in the gender mix of faculty that have taken place over the past two decades.

Update Vol.3 #4
"Characteristics of College and University Staff" October 1997
This report provides a descriptive overview of non-teaching employees in higher education. This often overlooked cadre of employees outnumbers the teaching faculty in all types of institutions.

Update Vol.3 #3
"First Amendment Rights and the Internet" September 1997
This report discusses the Supreme Court's ruling that the Communications Decency Act is unconstitutional. This decision was a big victory for academic freedom and free exchange of ideas on the Internet.

Update Vol.3 #2
"Developing A Teaching Center on Campus" March 1997
This report introduces planning issues for developing a teaching center, provides the viewpoint of a small group of nationally recognized teaching centers directors, and reviews what the literature offers in the way of observations and suggestions.

Update Vol.3 #1
"Part-time Employment in Academe" January 1997
This report reviews the incidence of part-time employment in higher education among all the job categories, i.e. faculty, clerical, technical, service, and administrative.

Update Vol.2 #6
"E-mail and Privacy" October 1996
Discussion of employer, union and legislative perspectives on the issue of E-mail and privacy.

Update Vol.2 #5
"Full-time Non-Tenure-Track Faculty" September 1996
This report analyzes a recent national study of faculty on full-time temporary faculty. In recent years, non-tenure-track (NTT) faculty appointments have become increasingly common.

Update Vol.2 #4
"Instructional Development: What Works?" August 1996
This report abstracts the most recent, comprehensive review of research in faculty and instructional development.

Update Vol.2 #3
"Discipline-Specific Faculty Development" July 1996
This report examines faculty development through three examples of discipline-specific activities in order to improve college teaching.

Update Vol.2 #2
"Faculty Development: Opportunity and Satisfaction" July 1996
Analysis of data from a 1993 national study on faculty and staff on availability of faculty development resources and satisfaction with opportunities.

Update Vol.2 #1
"Retirement Plans of Instructional Faculty and Staff" March 1996
Analysis of data from a 1993 national study on faculty and staff plans to retire.

Update Vol.1 #6
"State Legislative Priorities, Policies, and Perceptions" December 1995
This report describes the findings from in-depth telephone interviews conducted from February through August 1995 with 58 house and senate education chairs in 49 states. The report's objectives are to offer critical information about state legislative higher education policy and to provide insights into the values and attitudes legislators hold about higher education.

Update Vol.1 #5
"Summative Evaluation and Formative Feedback" November 1995
As renewed interest in faculty evaluation grows due to university and state mandates for accountability, administrators and faculty increasingly find themselves in the business of creating new evaluation guidelines on which faculty will be judged. Particularly difficult is the task of devising a new system to evaluate teaching. This report outlines the distinction between summative evaluations and formative feedback.

Update Vol.1 #4
"Grievance Procedures In Higher Education Contracts" October 1995
Analysis of grievance procedures in higher education labor agreements.

Update Vol.1 #3
"Tenure" September 1995
Analysis of data from a 1993 national study of faculty on the numbers and productivity of faculty with and without tenure.

Update Vol.1 #2
"Part-time Faculty Members" July 1995
A national overview of the numbers and other characteristics of part-time faculty from a 1993 national study.

Update Vol.1 #1
"Community College Faculty" June 1995
An overview of faculty teaching in two year colleges from a 1993 national study.