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%.
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.