Adjunct Faculty: Who are these Unsung Heroes of Academe?


  • Gail D. Caruth Texas A&M University-Commerce
  • Donald L. Caruth


adjunct faculty, adjuncts, part-time faculty, full-time faculty, non-tenured faculty


A trend in hiring adjuncts exists. Adjuncts bring real-world perspectives to students, provide scheduling flexibility for department heads, and are a cost savings for colleges and universities. The purpose of this paper was to examine the role of AF within the overall professorate. Who are these part-time instructors? This research study was an archival quantitative, data mining study using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).  This study identified full-time and part-time faculty according to gender and race from a total of 4,426 degree-granting universities in the United States. Examination of the data revealed that adjuncts represented 50 percent of the total faculty in degree-granting institutions in the United States for the year 2011. Implications from this study have a bearing on institutional morale, turnover, productivity, student service, community relations, employee relations, and institutional image.

Author Biographies

Gail D. Caruth, Texas A&M University-Commerce

Gail D. Caruth, Ed.D., is a member of the Adjunct Faculty at Eastfield College. She is a former human resource manager as well as an organizational consultant specializing in training and development.  She holds the professional designation of Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). She is the coauthor of Staffing the Contemporary Organization, 3rd ed. and her articles have appeared in a number of academic and trade journals.

Donald L. Caruth

Donald L. Caruth, Ph.D., is an Independent Human Resource Management Consultant who taught HR courses at the university level for many years. He is a Senior Professional in Human Resources. He is the coauthor of Staffing the Contemporary Organization, 3rd ed. and his articles have appeared in numerous academic and trade journals.




How to Cite

Caruth, G. D., & Caruth, D. L. (2013). Adjunct Faculty: Who are these Unsung Heroes of Academe?. Current Issues in Education, 16(3). Retrieved from