This year, TCU added 25 full-time faculty members and increased the percentage of classes taught by full-time faculty, reducing the number of classes taught by adjuncts.
Cathan Coghlan, the director of institutional research, said 18.5 percent of classes at TCU were taught by adjuncts in fall 2013. In fall 2014, only 16.7 percent of classes were taught by adjuncts.
“Some adjuncts are hired to fill in temporarily for full-time faculty who may be on sabbatical or medical leave while others are hired because they have specialized knowledge, skills or experiences,” Coghlan said.
The American Association of University Professors says that overuse of contingent faculty members harms students, faculty and academic freedom. Yet, adjunct faculty make up 76 percent of all instructional staff appointments in American higher education.
However, TCU’s total enrollment increases significantly year-to-year. increasing by nearly 1,500 students in the past five years.
As of this fall, 22 full-time instructors were teaching an overload, up from 17 last fall.
As TCU’s enrollment continues to grow, there remains a need for adjunct faculty members in some capacity. Within the last year, the number of adjunct faculty has remained constant.
“There will always be a need for adjuncts in some areas to provide the most enriching educational experience possible,” Coghlan said.
Suzi Mellano, a senior sports broadcasting major, said that most core classes she took throughout her time at TCU were taught by adjuncts or graduate assistants.
“I’m not sure it makes a huge difference for my core classes. My teachers were always available, knowledgeable and still had awesome experiences to share,” Mellano said.
Hiring 25 full-time faculty in one year was a significant increase, but if total enrollment continues its current trend, TCU will have to look to hire even more by next fall.