I’m one of the lucky ones. I landed a tenure-track job at a liberal arts college, a position that offers lots of personal interaction through teaching and advising.
I get to bond with my students not only in the classroom, but also on nature retreats, at national conferences, and during travel seminars to other countries. When my students graduate, they tell me excitedly about their job offers and their acceptance letters to graduate school.
I have a wonderful job.
But my story is the exception. If higher education continues down its current path, full-time professors — already an endangered species — may become extinct. The reason: Uncontrollable fervor for online education.
According to a jaw-dropping 2013 report by the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities, the percentage of tenure track (i.e., permanent, full-time) positions has plummeted from 78% in 1969 to about 33% today. The report warns that “the rising numbers of non-tenure-track faculty in higher education are negatively affecting student success.”
Even before the online revolution, full-time professor jobs were already on the decline as colleges and universities came to rely on an army of inexpensive adjunct instructors.