Supporting Our Students, Our Colleagues, and Our Institutions: Hiring Gen Ed Faculty

Given enrollment pressures, devaluation of the importance of general education, and efforts to cut costs, general education courses—especially those students are expected to complete during their first year, such as English composition, first-year seminars, and introductory math— are often taught by graduate students, adjuncts or otherwise contingent faculty members, especially at research universities. Often, too, these faculty members are hired hurriedly just before the start of the semester after truncated search processes. This is unfortunate as it can shortchange the aspect of our students’ curriculum that arguably contributes most to their long-term success. Our institutions should commit as much energy and resources to hiring and retaining the faculty who teach foundational undergraduate courses as we do to recruiting research faculty, and our commitment should include hiring as general education faculty only individuals who have earned a terminal degree.

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