Press "Enter" to skip to content

More visiting professors to meet student demands

For the 2023-2024 academic year, Rollins has hired a significant number of visiting professors to correspond with various changes in faculty.  

“Typically, we hire a visiting assistant professor for one year or two years to replace a faculty member who’s going on sabbatical,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Don Davison. “Or perhaps a faculty member has retired from the department, and the department is still in the process of applying for a permanent replacement.”  

According to Davison, roughly 20% of the tenured faculty go on sabbatical each year. Therefore, by default, at least 20% of the faculty will be comprised of visiting professors to temporarily replace them.   

When observing the proportion of CLA courses taught by tenure-track versus visiting faculty, there is a visible increase in courses taught by visiting professors and a decrease in courses taught by tenure-track professors since the 2020-2021 academic year, during the midst of COVID-19. For 2020-2021, tenure-track professors made up 75% of courses while visiting professors taught 12%. In contrast, in the current year, tenure-track professors teach 59% of the population, and visiting professors teach 27%.  

The proportion of CLA seats has maintained a similar ratio. In the 2020-2021 academic year, tenure-track faculty held 75% of seats, while visiting professors held 12%. In the current year, tenure-track faculty hold 56% of seats, and visiting professors hold 30%. Likewise, when observing the CLA faculty lines for the current year, 60% of professors are tenure-track, and 32% are visiting.  

“When COVID hit, institutions just did not know what the financial impact of COVID was going to be,” said Davison. “Many institutions paused tenure-track hiring because the institutions did not want to continue to make so many long-term commitments when there was so much certainty.” 

According to Davison, during COVID-19, Rollins paused tenure-track hiring and reduced the number of visiting professors. Now, the school is trying to rebuild the number of faculty they had prior to the pandemic.  

“This year, we have the first group of tenure-track faculty that we hired since COVID,” said Dean of CLA Ashley Kistler.  

According to Kistler, many professors were forced to postpone their sabbaticals during COVID-19. As a result, there have been more faculty on sabbatical for the past couple years. The rise in tenure-track professors on sabbatical has led to an increase in visiting professors hired to take their place while they are gone.  

Davison added that, while the school has recently hired more visiting professors, they do not rely on these professors as much as other schools. 

“That’s I think an indicator of a strong school: that we don’t rely on adjuncts and contingent faculty,” said Davison. “We want to rely on our tenured and tenure-track faculty.”  

According to Davison, last year the school hired 14 new tenure track hires, and this year they are trying to hire nine more. They hope to eventually reach the staff levels they had prior to the pandemic. 

Comments are closed.