Financial Preparedness, Career Perceptions of Adjunct Faculty Focus of New Report Released by TIAA-CREF Institute

Report covers a broad range of topics important to adjunct faculty
New York, June 24, 2015 — A new report released today by the TIAA-CREF Institute finds that 31% of adjunct faculty members are not confident that they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout retirement. "The Career Experience of Academics in Adjunct Faculty Positions" study also showed that debt levels play a key factor in this lack of confidence as one-half of adjuncts view their debt level as problematic.
"This report provides compelling insights into the state of retirement of adjuncts and particularly those educators at the beginning of their working lives," said Stephanie Bell-Rose, senior managing director and head of the TIAA-CREF Institute. "It is critical that we provide adjuncts with the financial planning tools and resources they need to help ensure they are saving as much as they can for retirement, and investing their savings appropriately."
While only 68% of adjuncts feel confident about retirement, this data differs notably by age. Fifteen percent of adjuncts under 40 are very confident in their retirement income prospects, compared to 40% of adjuncts 65 or older.  On the other side of the spectrum, adjuncts under 40 are nearly three times as likely not to feel confident about their retirement income future as those 65 or older.  Viewing levels of debt as a problem also differs significantly by age.
In addition to findings about the financial preparedness and perceptions of adjunct faculty, the report also provides information about adjunct faculty views and perceptions on a host of topics important to them, including career satisfaction.
Among the findings, 41% of adjunct faculty members are very satisfied with their careers and 84% are at least somewhat likely to recommend an academic career to students.
"Workforce trends in higher education are rapidly evolving. Thus research like this from the TIAA-CREF Institute is very important since not enough is known about how these shifts are impacting overall institutional effectiveness, efficiency and, most important, teaching and learning," stated Adrianna Kezar, University of Southern California and TIAA-CREF Institute Lead Fellow.
The report is based on data from the Institute's Faculty Career and Retirement Survey conducted between September 15 and November 5, 2014 “a representative sample of U.S. college and university faculty that included more than 1,200 tenured or tenure-track faculty and 500 academics in adjunct faculty positions.  It was released in a presentation by its author, Senior Economist Paul J. Yakoboski, Ph.D., of the TIAA-CREF Institute and can be found at .
This latest research from the TIAA-CREF Institute adds to the Institute's growing body of thought leadership in the area of academic workforce models, one thematic area of the Institute's higher education program. This program also builds and shares knowledge in two other thematic areas: Innovation and Financial Sustainability and Leadership, Governance and Risk Management.

About the TIAA-CREF Institute

The TIAA-CREF Institute helps advance the ways individuals and institutions plan for financial security and organizational effectiveness. The Institute conducts in-depth research, provides access to a network of thought leaders and enables those it serves to anticipate trends, plan future strategies and maximize opportunities for success.
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TIAA-CREF ( is a national financial services organization with $866 billion in assets under management (as of 03.31.15) and is the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.

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