Save Now, Pay Later? The Effects of Adjunct Instructors on Performance-Based Funding

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Austin Peay State University
This study examined the connection of faculty status and impacts on student success metrics and performance-based funding outcomes. While the topics of adjunct faculty and performance-based funding are well documented in the available literature, there does not seem to be a study that connects the two issues to determine if faculty status impacts performance-based funding outcomes. The literature does show that the under support of adjunct instructors across higher education institutions may contribute to diminished student success outcomes, which are significant components of performance-based funding. This study utilized institutional data for the 22 public, degree-granting higher education institutions in the state of Tennessee, a state that has had performance-based funding in place since 1979 and utilized an aggressive model during the years of this study. The study utilized three separate analyses of covariance (ANCOVAs) to determine if there was a statistically significant difference in retention rates, graduation rates, and points earned through the performance-based funding formula at 2- and 4-year higher education institutions in Tennessee based on the percentage of adjunct instructors. Institutional data were collected for the 2010-2011 through 2018-2019 academic years, and averages of each variable were used for the tests. The results of the tests revealed that there were no statistically significant differences in any of the population means. However, faculty status was a significant covariant (p = .239) for graduation rates, suggesting that approximately 24% of the variation in graduation rates may be attributed to faculty status.
College teachers, Part-time, Universities and colleges -- Finance, Academic achievement