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The CRA Taulbee Survey and Teaching Faculty Data

By Betsy Bizot and Stu Zweben

Non-tenure-track teaching faculty are becoming more important to doctoral departments to help them meet their educational goals and responsibilities, particularly in response to the current enrollments surge. In the Generation CS report (available at, 65% of doctoral departments reported in fall 2015 that they had increased the number of teaching faculty on continuing appointments in response to increased enrollments, and an additional 16% were considering it. Similarly, between fall 2006 and fall 2016, the proportion of Taulbee Survey respondents reporting at least one full-time non-tenure-track teaching faculty member increased from 81% to 87% and, more notably, the median number of such teaching faculty at the departments reporting nonzero counts rose from 3 to 6.

Fine-tuning the Taulbee’s Teaching Faculty Titles

Currently, the CRA Taulbee Survey asks for head counts and salaries of full time non-tenure-track teaching faculty, but does not distinguish between different types of teaching faculty. In fall 2016, we added a few questions to the Taulbee to help guide our decisions about whether to change the teaching faculty data collection and reporting in the future. When asked if they would be interested in more fine-grained data about teaching faculty, 59% of the academic units said yes, 18% said no, 2% said maybe, and 21% had no opinion, suggesting that there is sufficient interest to pursue this.

In order to collect Taulbee data by categories of teaching faculty, it is necessary to establish and define the categories. As a first step toward achieving this goal, the fall 2016 Taulbee asked an open-ended question about teaching faculty titles and levels used within the academic unit. One hundred and twenty units responded. As expected, the units varied widely in the number of titles and the specific titles they used. The titles included:

  • Multiple levels of lecturer were reported by 49 units (41%). Examples are lecturer and senior lecturer; lecturer, senior lecturer, and principal lecturer; lecturer I – IV; or lecturer with or without security of employment.
  • An assistant-associate or assistant-associate-full pattern was reported by 39 (33%). There were many variations on the complete title such as teaching, clinical, instructional, collegiate, or professor of the practice.
  • A single level of lecturer was reported by 36 (30%). In some units this was the only non-tenure-track teaching title, but in others there were, for example, both lecturers and professors of the practice.
  • Professor of the practice with no levels given was reported by 20 (17%).
  • A single level of instructor was reported by 12 (10%)
  • Multiple levels of instructor was reported by 9 (8%)
  • Other was reported by 18 (15%), and it included fellow, faculty associate, teaching professor (without assistant/associate levels), teaching specialist, security of employment, and visiting faculty.

We observe the following patterns from these responses:

  1. Half of those who provided data indicated there were teaching faculty with professorial titles (i.e., the word “professor” was part of the title, in conjunction with the local choice of modifier) either at one or more levels.  This seems like a useful distinguishable subclass. From the point of view of salary data and demographic collection, it may be helpful to distinguish those departments that have only one rank for these titles and those that have multiple ranks (and presumably a promotion path from one to the next).
  2. Lecturer seems much more widely used than instructor or other titles for those not having professorial titles. If there are identifiable reasons to further split lecturers from instructors from teaching specialists and the like, as a result of data collected about qualifications, duties, or other terms of employment, that would be appropriate. Otherwise, lumping these title variations together, but separate from the professorial title group, might be best. Again, a distinction may be useful for those departments having only one such level within this category and those having multiple levels.
  3. All of this data are about full-time teaching faculty, and data collection should be careful to avoid mixing part-time faculty with these titles, especially casual adjuncts, into the data.

The next step will be to determine the specific categories to use for more detailed data on teaching faculty. Because more time is needed for this process, the fall 2017 Taulbee questions about teaching faculty will be unchanged; changes will be implemented in the fall 2018 survey.

CRA Board Committee on Teaching Faculty

Separate from the Taulbee question but working in parallel, a CRA Teaching Faculty Committee led by CRA board member Penny Rheingans (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) is focusing on larger questions about teaching faculty. This group is divided into three subcommittees: one is working on a Best Practices Memo that makes recommendations to departments on their management of teaching faculty; one is working with an ACM SIGCSE group collecting information from teaching faculty themselves about the policies and practices governing their work; and one is surveying academic units in fall 2017, in parallel with the Taulbee Survey, to gather more data about the expectations and policies for teaching faculty with various titles. Information from the department-level survey will be used to define the categories of teaching faculty to be used in the Taulbee Survey in fall 2018.

Members of the academic computing community are invited to provide suggestions about the best practices of their own departments and other issues that the Best Practices Memo should address. Chairs of CRA doctoral-granting member departments and members of the CRA Deans group should already have received an email inviting them to comment.  Members of these groups who did not receive an email can contact Betsy Bizot at for their link. Other readers of this article who would like to provide input can follow this link to the form:

Not Previously Reported: The Teaching Load of Non-Tenure-Track Teaching  Faculty

The Taulbee includes a set of department profile questions asked every three years, with the last one asked in 2015. Questions about teaching load are part of the profiles section, but prior to 2015 were only asked about tenured and tenure-track faculty. In 2015, we also asked about the average teaching load for non-tenure-track teaching faculty. Those results were not included in the 2015 Taulbee report, but are shown below. For comparison, the table also shows the median load for tenure-track faculty at the same type of institution. Overall, non-tenure-track teaching faculty have about twice the teaching load of tenure-track faculty.


Table 1. Teaching load in semester* courses per academic year as of fall 2015.
Non-Tenure-Track Teaching Faculty Tenure-Track
N Minimum Mean Median Maximum N Median
US CS Public 85 2.0 6.1 6.0 16.0 97 3.0
US CS Private 24 2.0 4.5 4.0 8.0 32 2.0
US CE 4 4.0 5.1 5.2 6.0 7 3.3
US Info 10 3.0 5.7 6.0 11.0 10 3.0
Canadian 5 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 8 3.0

*Quarter system loads were converted to semester equivalent by multiplying by .67. Multiply by 1.5 to convert these values back to quarter system.

The CRA Taulbee Survey and Teaching Faculty Data