- The distinction between teaching and nonteaching staff is blurring as information technology shifts the modalities of teaching and learning. In some institutions, for example, faculty time is leveraged by modern learning software, a change that may require entirely new kinds of labor inputs. Such technologically driven changes are not unique to higher education, but the pace of change seems unusually brisk at the present time.
- Productivity statistics are more likely to weigh heavily in policy debates on higher education than in policy debates on other industries. The U.S. public policy environment includes a significant oversight and accountability component requiring information about productivity. Therefore, it is important that the statistics be as complete as possible on the important issues, including those associated with labor substitution (e.g., between tenure-track and nontenure-track teachers). Of course, proper analysis brings with it the responsibility to monitor and assess the quality of education obtained by students as the mix of inputs change.
These considerations suggest the following three-way labor classification scheme based on IPEDS data.
- Regular faculty FTEs: approximated from IPEDS data for “Number of full-time Instruction/Research/Public Service staff with faculty status.”
- Part-time teaching FTEs who are hired on a course-by-course basis: approximated by one-third of the “Number of staff by primary function/occupational activity” listed as “Part-time” and “Primarily instruction” (“PT/PI”). Ideally graduate assistants whose primary function is instruction should be included here. IPEDS contains data on graduate assistants, and they are reported separately under part-time staff.
- All other FTEs: i.e., the base-model value minus the sum of the above.
The Human Resources/Employees by Assigned Position section of the IPEDS survey questionnaire requires institutions to report number of full-time and part-time staff involved in instruction/research/public service. The values reported for staff under this item will vary from one institution to another. Two-year colleges are more likely to report their entire faculty under “primarily instruction.” Some four-year institutions may change the way they report; for example, all kinds of faculty (irrespective of how much research they are doing) may be grouped under instruction/research/public service, creating biases in period to period trend comparisons.
In Table 4.3, part-time staff are converted to FTEs, and other staff FTEs are obtained by subtracting from total FTEs as used in the base model. Total wages and salaries and fringe benefits for instruction, research, and public service also