Are Tenure Track Professors Better Teachers? (WP-13-18)
David Figlio, Morton Schapiro, Kevin Soter
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 non-tenure line faculty on student learning. The researchers focus on classes taken during a student’s first term at Northwestern, and they employ a unique identification strategy in which they control for both student-level fixed effects and next-class taken fixed effects to measure the degree to which non-tenure line faculty contribute more or less to lasting student learning than do other faculty. They find consistent evidence that students learn relatively more from non-tenure line professors in their introductory courses. These differences are present across a wide variety of subject areas.