Employment Patterns in Higher Education, 2004-2012, a State by State Survey: Part 1, Alabama

This series will review the employment data for U.S. colleges and universities from 2004 to 2012. That data has been measured against enrollment, by the percentage increase in each category per 1,000 students at the institution. The five categories are: full-time faculty, part-time faculty, upper administration, professional staff, and non-professional staff (with the last three categories limited to full-time employment.

Before I survey the data for institutions in Alabama, I would like to emphasize that this data is already two years old, and hiring at an individual institution may have changed significantly or even dramatically over the past two years. More broadly, for those of us who do not work for a particular institution or who reside outside a particular state, the specific percentages for each institution are, ultimately, of less importance than the patterns that emerge from them.

I will begin with the Alabama institutions at which employment patterns seem to bucked the national trend and to have moved toward an increased emphasis on creating full-time faculty positions. I should pause here to emphasize, however, that tenured and tenure-eligible full-time positions (TET) and non-tenure-eligible full-time positions (NTE) are not distinguished in this data. At Auburn University—Montgomery, full-time faculty positions increased 10.77% in proportion to enrollment, part-time faculty positions decreased 2.58%, upper administrative positions decreased 19.59%, professional staff positions decreased 39.37%, and non-professional staff positions decreased 24.13%. Of the 51 two- and four-year institutions for which data is available, Auburn University—Montgomery is the only one at which an increase in full-time faculty was accompanied by decreases in all of the other categories of employment.

In the other instances in which there was an increase in full-time faculty positions, that increase was over-shadowed by a larger increase in one of the three middle categories. Note: at most institutions, non-professional staff are the first positions to be eliminated when budget priorities are redefined, but the impact on institutional budgets is typically rather minimal because the salaries for those positions are the lowest within the institution. Moreover, a decline in employment in this category is typically a decline in direct employment—that is, the jobs are outsourced–and thus represent even less of a savings than the noted decrease in direct employment would seem to indicate.

At some institutions, significant decreases in full-time faculty positions were reflected in significant increases in part-time faculty positions. For instance, at the University of West Alabama, full-time positions decreased by 45.99% and part-time faculty positions increased by 77.27%. Likewise, at the University of South Alabama, full-time faculty positions decreased by 11.92% and part-time faculty positions increased by 85.35%. It is worth noting that at both institutions, there were also dramatic decreases in upper-administrative, professional staff, and non-professional staff positions. But at South Alabama, those decreases were 350% to 600% higher than the decrease in full-time faculty positions, whereas at West Alabama, the decrease in full-time faculty positions was 25% to 35% higher than the decreases in the other three, non-faculty categories.

At Stillman College, full-time faculty positions decreased by 11.55% and part-time faculty positions increased by 53.44%. At Tuskegee University, full-time faculty positions decreased by 9.37% and part-time faculty positions increased by 69.61%. Among the two-year colleges, the most marked shift in faculty employment occurred at James H. Faulkner State Community College, where full-time faculty positions decreased by 9.61% and part-time faculty positions increased by 38.39%.

At other institutions, decreases or much smaller increases in full-time faculty positions occurred in conjunction with dramatic increases in upper administrative positions or in professional staff, or both. At the University of North Alabama, a 5.19% decrease in full-time faculty positions was accompanied by 5.23% and 3.18% decreases in part-time faculty positions and upper-administrative positions, but professional staff positions increased by 221.98%. At Spring Hill College, full-time faculty positions increased by 20.37% and part-time faculty positions and upper-administrative positions decreased by 32.33% and 14.92%, but professional staff positions increased by 182.18%. At Judson College, full-time faculty positions increased by 16.29%, but part-time faculty positions  increased by 438.26%, upper-administrative positions by 25.58%, and professional staff positions by 85.43%.

At George Wallace State Community College–Selma, full-time faculty positions increased by 2.54%, but part-time faculty positions increased by 14.09%, upper administrative positions increased by 45.08%, and professional staff positions increased by 215.57%; bucking the pattern for non-professional staff, those positions at this institution also increased by 23.72%.  Interestingly, there are two other campuses of this community college, at Dothan and at Hanceville. At the Hanceville campus, employment decreased across all categories, but by the last percentage among full-time faculty, which is a very qualified positive in a set of disheartening statistics. At the Dothan campus, on the other hand, 15.2% and 15.53% decreases in full-time and part-time faculty positions, along with a 56.51% decrease in upper administrative positions, were offset by an 83% increase in professional staff positions.

In Alabama, there are 14 four-year public institutions. Between 2004 and 2012, only five of the 14 institutions had increases in full-time faculty positions, in proportion to enrollment, with Troy University having the largest increase at 24.58% and the University of West Alabama having the largest decrease at 45.99%. In terms of part-time faculty positions, only six of the 14 institutions had increases, with the University of South Alabama having the largest increase at 77.27%, and Athens State University having the largest decrease at 45.63%. In terms of upper-administrative positions, six of the 14 institutions had increases, with Troy University having the largest increase at 246.37% and Athens State University having the largest decrease at 47.77%. And in terms of professional staff positions, nine of the 14 institutions had increases, with the University of North Alabama having the largest increase at 221.98% and the University of South Alabama having the largest decrease at 66.18%.

One thought on “Employment Patterns in Higher Education, 2004-2012, a State by State Survey: Part 1, Alabama

Your comments are welcome. They must be relevant to the topic at hand and must not contain advertisements, degrade others, or violate laws or considerations of privacy. We encourage the use of your real name, but do not prohibit pseudonyms as long as you don’t impersonate a real person.