Staffing the Higher Education Classroom
AbstractWe discuss some centrally important decisions faced by colleges and universities regarding how to staff their undergraduate classrooms. We describe the multitasking problem faced by research-intensive institutions and explore the degree to which there may be a trade-off between research and teaching excellence using matched student-faculty-level data from Northwestern University. We present two alternative measures of teaching effectiveness—one capturing “deep learning” and one capturing “inspiration”—and demonstrate that neither is correlated with measures of research success. We discuss the move toward contingent faculty in US universities and show that on average, contingent faculty outperform tenure-line faculty in the introductory classroom, a pattern driven by the lowest-performing instructors according to our measures. We also present some of the ways in which instructor gender, race, and ethnicity might matter. Together, these pieces of evidence show that several institutional objectives associated with staffing undergraduate classrooms may be in tension with one another.
CitationFiglio, David, and Morton Schapiro. 2021. "Staffing the Higher Education Classroom." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 35 (1): 143-62. DOI: 10.1257/jep.35.1.143
- I23 Higher Education; Research Institutions
- J15 Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
- J16 Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
- J44 Professional Labor Markets; Occupational Licensing