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Faculty Tenure Track Trends: 2010 to 2013

May 2013

By Jessica Brown, Senior Manager, Knowledge Services, AACSB International

The question of faculty tenure is always interesting to study, in part because the tenure system provides both faculty and administrators with assurance of academic freedom, as well as a way to monitor a faculty member's growth through the system in place to earn tenure at a school. On the annual Global Salary Survey, AACSB collects information for individual full-time faculty members, including whether positions are tenure track (including tenured) or non-tenure track. In general, the data has shown that the percentage of tenure-track positions currently filled is highest in the three professor level ranks (professor, associate, and assistant). However, at the instructor level, it is far less common to see positions that are on a tenure track.

Using a controlled data set of only those schools that have participated in the Global Salary Survey in each of the past three years, we can see any recent changes in tenure-track positions. Across all reported full-time faculty and all disciplines, the largest percentages of tenured or tenure-track faculty were reported at the professor and associate professor rank, with were both above 90%.

Faculty 2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013
Professor 91.0% 91.3% 91.6%
Associate 91.5% 91.4% 91.4%
Assistant 88.9% 88.9% 88.4%
Instructor 7.3% 5.9% 5.7%

When looking at individual disciplines and faculty ranks, however, there is a bit more variation, with some areas showing larger changes. At the professor rank, the highest percentage reported for tenure/tenure track positions is in economics/managerial economics with 95.3% of reported professors in tenure track/tenured positions. This is an increase from 93.8% in 2010–2011. Other disciplines with high percentages of tenured/tenure track, full-time faculty in 2012–2013 include quantitative methods (includes operations research, statistics) at 93.2%, marketing with 92.9%, CIS/MIS with 92.7%, production/operations management with 92.5%, and accounting (including taxation) at 91.4%.

Not all disciplines displayed an increase in tenured/tenure track at the professor rank, with the largest decrease showing in e-business from 94.1% in 2010–2011 to 77.8% in 2012–2013. This discipline also has very few faculty members reported at this level with the count also decreasing in that time frame from 17 professors in 2010–2011 to only nine in 2012–2013. Business communication also decreased with 84.3% (of 70 full-time professors) in 2010–2011 falling to 80.6% (of 62 full-time professors) in 2012–2013. Overall, the lowest percentage of tenured/tenure track positions reported at the professor rank over the three year period was 77.8% (e-business) with the highest percentage of 95.3% (a tie with quantitative methods 2010–2011 and economics/managerial economics 2012–2013).

The following tables show the breakdown of the percent reported as tenured/tenure track by faculty rank and field/discipline groupings.

Professor Associate
Discipline 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2010-2011 2011-2012 2010-2013
All Disciplines 91.0 91.3 91.6 91.5 91.4 91.4
Accounting (includes Taxation) 91.2 91.4 91.4 93.4 92.9 92.8
Business Communications 84.3 78.6 80.6 63.4 62.7 63.4
Business Education 83.3 85.0 81.8 100.0 100.0 100.0
Business Ethics (includes CSR) 80.3 83.8 82.1 80.6 79.5 84.8
Business Law, Legal Environment 89.6 89.1 89.1 88.5 88.1 90.4
CIS/MIS 91.6 91.7 92.7 93.5 93.5 93.5
e-Business (includes e-Commerce) 94.1 87.5 77.8 85.0 88.2 90.0
Economics, Managerial Economics 93.8 94.1 95.3 94.6 92.5 93.8
Entrepreneurship, Small Business Admin. 85.2 88.0 84.7 89.9 88.7 85.2
Finance, Banking (includes Insurance, Real Estate) 91.0 90.7 90.9 92.1 92.5 92.0
HR, Management (includes Personnel, Industrial, Labor Relations) 90.7 90.4 91.1 91.1 90.6 92.3
Management (includes Behavioral Sciences) 89.3 90.2 90.3 90.7 90.4 90.4
Marketing 91.6 91.7 92.9 91.3 92.4 93.4
Production, Operations Management 90.9 92.2 92.5 89.3 88.1 89.0
Quantitative Methods (includes Operations Research, Statistics) 95.3 94.1 93.2 91.4 90.5 89.0
All Others 88.0 91.1 89.7 86.4 89.8 86.8


Assistant Instructor
Discipline 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2010-2011 2011-2012 2010-2013
All Disciplines 88.9 88.9 88.4 7.3 5.9 5.7
Accounting (includes Taxation) 91.6 91.1 90.5 6.9 6.4 5.7
Business Communication 41.3 44.3 41.6 0.0 1.0 0.9
Business Education 70.6 66.7 77.8 0.0 0.0 0.0
Business Ethics (including CSR) 75.7 80.0 75.0 5.0 5.9 5.0
Business Law, Legal Environment 78.7 77.4 78.0 5.3 2.9 2.2
CIS/MIS 85.6 86.1 86.3 5.3 4.8 5.3
e-Business (includes e-Commerce) 100.0 100.0 100.0 68.8 50.0 53.8
Economics, Managerial Economics 90.3 90.6 90.4 11.0 4.2 4.9
Entrepreneurship, Small Business Admin. 82.8 86.5 85.3 9.6 5.1 4.8
Finance, Banking (includes Insurance, Real Estate) 91.1 91.0 90.0 8.1 6.7 6.7
HRM (includes Personnel, Industrial Labor Relations) 88.8 83.6 83.9 23.0 23.1 20.9
Management (includes Behavioral Sciences) 89.7 90.3 88.4 7.6 6.5 6.4
Marketing 90.8 90.6 91.0 5.7 4.4 4.7
Productions, Operations Management 93.1 92.9 92.8 8.0 7.9 5.3
Quantitative Methods (includes Operations Research, Statistics) 80.9 79.1 83.2 7.0 3.5 3.5
All Others 85.8 84.6 84.2 6.9 5.2 5.5

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