Vergrijzing slaat toe in HO

Nieuws | de redactie
25 september 2008 | De vergrijzing gaat veel harder toeslaan in de kennissector en het HO dan velen denken. De patronen die de kwaliteit van de staf van onderzoek en hoger onderwijs organisaties dreigen te verlagen worden zichtbaar.

Een studie van de American Council on Education laat zien wat de effecten bij ongewijzigd beleid zouden zijn. ‘An aging professoriate, a growing reliance on part-time and non-tenured faculty, and students who complete their PhDs and become faculty later in life are all factors that contribute to a scarcity of young permanent faculty who will have the time and opportunity to advance up the traditional career ladder to a college presidency, a new issue brief by the American Council on Education (ACE) concludes.

Deeltijd beperkt tenure

Too Many Rungs on the Ladder? Faculty Demographics and the Future Leadership of Higher Education examines why so few young adults are in the professoriate and discusses the implications for the future of the nation’s colleges and universities. The report, which analyzes data from the Department of Education’s 2003-04 National Survey of Postsecondary Faculty, suggests that the longstanding career ladder to top administrative posts in academia may have too many steps given these shifting demographic realities.

Among the key findings:

– Only 3 percent of all faculty are aged 34 or younger and hold the types of permanent positions that typically lead to advancement (tenured or tenure-line positions at four-year institutions and full-time positions at community colleges).

– Nearly half (48 percent) of all faculty at four- year institutions were either not in tenure-track position or worked at institutions that do not offer tenure. At community colleges, 62 percent of faculty hold part-time positions.

– Women aged 45 or younger working in permanent positions make up only 5 percent of faculty at four-year institutions, and 6 percent of faculty at community colleges.

– Likewise, people of color aged 45 or younger working in permanent positions make up only 4 percent of faculty at four-year institutions and 6 percent of community college faculty.

Een ander carrièrepad
“With fewer young permanent junior faculty in the professoriate, the current path to a college presidency may not allow them the opportunity to rise through the ranks in the same way their predecessors did,” said Jacqueline E. King, assistant vice president and director of ACE’s Center for Policy Analysis and author of the issue brief. “If this current model—which typically includes stints as a tenured faculty member, department chair and chief academic officer—is no longer working, higher education must find ways to alter the career ladder so that people can skip rungs and rise to the presidency with fewer years of experience, or become more open to individuals from areas other than academic affairs.”

According to King, other factors that contribute to the dearth of young adults at the bottom rungs of the higher education career ladder include the increased prevalence of postdoctoral appointments and the rising number of male and, in particular, young female academics who take time away from their careers to care for young children. At community colleges, it appears that for many faculty, teaching may be a second career.

Later met pensioen als bedreiging

Further restricting the number of young people coming into the professoriate could be the troubled economy, which may result in faculty delaying their retirements. The “time crunch” for junior faculty aspiring to higher education leadership is also a function of the experience level currently demanded of college presidents. Previous research conducted by ACE found that current presidents have an average of 22 years of experience in their current and prior two positions alone, plus an average of eight years of experience as full-time faculty.

ACE research and extensive anecdotal evidence suggest that boards and search committees seek leaders with this type of extensive experience because the demands of leading colleges and universities are so great.
“If the demands of leading higher education institutions continue to grow, many potential future leaders may opt out of taking on that enormous responsibility at the time their peers are contemplating retirement,” King added.

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