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Are Tenure Track Professors Better Teachers?

Author

Listed:
  • David N. Figlio

    () (Northwestern University)

  • Morton O. Schapiro

    () (Northwestern University)

  • Kevin B. Soter

Abstract

This study makes use of detailed student-level data from eight cohorts of first-year students at Northwestern University to investigate the relative effects of tenure track/tenured versus contingent faculty on student learning. We focus on classes taken during a student’s first term at Northwestern and employ an identification strategy in which we control for both student-level fixed effects and next-class-taken fixed effects to measure the degree to which contingent faculty contribute more or less to lasting student learning than do other faculty. We find consistent evidence that students learn relatively more from contingent faculty in their firstterm courses. This result is driven by the fact that the bottom quarter of tenure track/tenured faculty (as indicted by our measure of teaching effectiveness) has lower “value added” than their contingent counterparts. Differences between contingent and tenure track/tenured faculty are present across a wide variety of subject areas and are particularly pronounced for Northwestern’s averages and less-qualified students.

Suggested Citation

  • David N. Figlio & Morton O. Schapiro & Kevin B. Soter, 2015. "Are Tenure Track Professors Better Teachers?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 715-724, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:97:y:2015:i:4:p:715-724
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    File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/REST_a_00529
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Liang Zhang, 2005. "Do Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Matter?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
    2. Scott E. Carrell & James E. West, 2010. "Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(3), pages 409-432, June.
    3. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 2012. "American Higher Education in Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 193-216, Winter.
    4. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2010. "Does Cheaper Mean Better? The Impact of Using Adjunct Instructors on Student Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 598-613, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Feld & Nicolás Salamanca & Ulf Zölitz, 2018. "Are Professors Worth It? The Value-added and Costs of Tutorial Instructors," CESifo Working Paper Series 7380, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Jan Feld & Nicolas Salamanca & Ulf Zölitz§, 2017. "Students Are Almost as Effective as Professors in University Teaching," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2017n23, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    3. repec:kap:jbuset:v:148:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3013-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:taf:jeduce:v:47:y:2016:i:4:p:269-287 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:tpr:edfpol:v:13:y:2018:i:1:p:42-71 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Feld, Jan & Salamanca, Nicolás & Zölitz, Ulf, 2019. "Are Professors Worth It? The Value-added and Costs of Tutorial Instructors," CEPR Discussion Papers 13883, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. repec:spr:empeco:v:55:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s00181-017-1313-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:spr:reihed:v:59:y:2018:i:5:d:10.1007_s11162-017-9479-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2013. "Contract Teachers: Experimental Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 19440, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. repec:eee:chieco:v:53:y:2019:i:c:p:140-151 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Tommaso Agasisti & Joanna Wolszczak-Derlacz, 2016. "Exploring efficiency differentials between Italian and Polish universities, 2001–11," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(1), pages 128-142.
    12. Artés, Joaquín & Pedraja-Chaparro, Francisco & Salinas-JiméneZ, Mª del Mar, 2017. "Research performance and teaching quality in the Spanish higher education system: Evidence from a medium-sized university," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 19-29.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; Northwestern University; tenure track; teaching; learning; faculty;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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