The Shrinking Professoriate

Federal data show that for first time, more full-time college professionals are administrators than instructors.
March 12, 2008

Every other year, data released by the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics provide a snapshot of the growth of part-time positions in the professoriate. This year -- an off-year for that data -- the federal statistics provide evidence for another shift, in which the majority of full-time professional employees in higher education are in administrative rather than faculty jobs.

In the fall of 2004, 50.6 of professional full-time employees in higher education (excluding medical schools) were faculty members. In the fall of 2006, for which data were released Tuesday, 48.6 percent of professional, full-time jobs in higher education were held by faculty members.

Faculty jobs remain the majority among full-time positions at two-year colleges and in public higher education, but because there are far more full-time jobs at four-year institutions than at two-year institutions, the balance has tilted away from professorial positions. (Adding part-time positions would of course also swell the faculty ranks across sectors, but this data set focuses on full-time positions.)

Full-Time Professional Positions in Higher Education, Fall 2004 and Fall 2006

Category 2004 Faculty 2004 Administrators 2006 Faculty 2006 Administrators
Total 50.6% 49.4% 48.6% 51.4%
Public 53.1% 46.9% 51.1% 48.9%
Private nonprofit 45.6% 54.4% 44.0% 56.0%
Private for-profit 48.0% 52.0% 44.1% 55.9%
4-year colleges 47.3% 52.7% 45.5% 54.5%
2-year colleges 63.6% 36.4% 61.4% 38.6%


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