The Delphi Project was spearheaded by NFM members Adrianna Kezar and Dan Maxey of the University of Southern California. The purpose of this project is to examine and develop solutions to change the nature of the professoriate, the causes of the rise of non-tenure-track faculty, and the impact of this change on the teaching and learning environment.

The first phase of the project is a policy study intended to provide a robust framework of ideas to be shared in the second phase, which will include the dissemination of ideas in partnership with the Association of American College and Universities (AAC&U) and potentially other organizations.

The study utilizes a modified Delphi method approach. In a Delphi study, a group of experts is consulted and then brought together to develop solutions to complex national problems. We have recruited more than 30 key experts representing a broad cross section of institutional sectors, unions, professional and disciplinary organizations, as well as other perspectives and interests from higher education. These participants will complete surveys addressing key issues related to the changing composition of the professoriate, reliance on non-tenure-track faculty, and potential solutions – all within the context of challenges facing higher education including declining state budgets, rapid changes within fields of study, changing student interests and demographics, and other issues that are attributed to the rise of non-tenure-track faculty. The participants convened in Spring 2012 to discuss the alternatives that have been offered through survey responses, to question underlying assumptions, and to contribute to the creation of solutions to change the nature of the professoriate. The findings will be prepared and disseminated as a policy report.

NFM and its Foundation are represented in this project by Maria Maisto, NFMF Board members Gary Rhoades and Sue Doe, NFM member and MLA president Michael Berube, NFM member and AAUP Program Director Gwen Bradley, and NFM Advisory Board member and AFT Vice President Sandra Schroeder.