A blog about problems in the field of psychology and attempts to fix them.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Why research professors? Part 1

I'm in a bit of a reactive mood. Over on my more public-oriented blog, I recently posted about one of the big reason we should be suspicious about US allegations against Syria. Here, though, I want to react to an article from Inside Higher Ed, that suggested adjuncts teach better than tenure-line faculty. (The article was passed on by my collaborator, Nicholas Rowland, through the organizational theory blog he is part of, and the original can be found here.) Alright, enough of a lead-in...

Some adjuncts certainly teach better than most tenure-line faculty members, but any research into who is better overall needs to be viewed with suspicion due to two potentially big sources of confusion. The first source of confusion is caused by the way adjuncting has shifted from a part-time job that is a totally legitimate, but tiny, part of most colleges' teaching rosters, to a full-time job that is a possibly illegitimate, and large, part of many colleges' teaching rosters. That is an issue for later discussion. The second source of confusion is that few people seem to understand why we might want to have researchers in teaching roles. This is the confusion I want to talk about, though it is too big to tackle in a single post, so I will only talk about it in the context of the recent article.