Adjunct Faculty

Updated November 10, 2017

Adjunct faculty at the University at Buffalo bring valuable expertise and experiences to the classroom for the benefit of our undergraduate and graduate students. 

Commensurate with the national marketplace, the university relies upon experienced adjunct faculty members, many of whom are fully employed as professionals in organizations throughout Western New York and are hired to bring their professional expertise into the classroom to deliver excellent education. 

For the two-year period between fall 2015 and spring 2017, about 10 percent of all course sections were taught by adjuncts.


Why does UB hire adjuncts?

Adjuncts serve an important role within the university, delivering service courses in general education (large survey or intro courses); teaching specialized material that people from industry or the workplace are better suited to teach (and hired as adjuncts for the purpose of just teaching the particular course); or to replace temporarily faculty who go on sabbatical or leave the university. 

What is the education and diversity of adjuncts at the university?

Adjuncts usually have a minimum of a master's degree with a Ph.D. preferred. Degree requirements vary depending upon the discipline and the particular expertise required to meet curricular needs.  The majority of adjuncts at UB have a Masters (43 percent), Doctoral/Professional (33 percent) or Bachelors (12 percent) degree.

About half of the university adjuncts are female and over 11 percent are minority. About 17 percent of adjuncts are also graduate students. 

What are UB's policies for adjunct hiring and workload?

All hiring must comply with all federal, state, SUNY, and UB hiring policies. Roles and responsibilities related to adjuncts are specific to schools and departments. 

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How many adjuncts does the university employ?

870 adjuncts taught in the period from Fall 2015 through Spring 2017.

How many courses are taught by adjuncts?

For the two-year period between fall 2015 and spring 2017, about 10 percent of all course sections were taught by adjuncts. Adjuncts taught about 16 percent of undergraduate course sections and about 6 percent of graduate-level course sections taught by adjuncts.  Adjuncts taught 274,970 out of 1,603,896 credit hours during these terms.

Students are most likely to be taught by adjuncts in units devoted to applied/professional studies - 30 percent of course sections in the School of Social Work, 32 percent in the Graduate School of Education,  24 percent in the School of Architecture and Planning, 16 percent in Law School, and 12 percent in the School of Management. These adjunct instructors typically are working professionals with specialized knowledge from the workplace. 

Adjuncts teach about 13 percent of course sections in the College of Arts and Sciences.

About 25 percent of adjuncts’ instructional activity is in recitation/discussion/tutorial/seminar sections; about 64 percent is in lecture sections.  

Adjunct faculty at UB bring valuable expertise and experiences to the classroom for the benefit of our undergraduate and graduate students.

How much are adjuncts paid at the university?

For Fall 2016, the average pay across disciplines is about $9,200 per semester.  While the average is $9,200, there is variation in salary across the university depending on degree and level of expertise. This compensation is commensurate with, and sometimes exceeds, pay at other universities nationwide.  

How long are adjuncts employed by the university?

The most common appointment for an adjunct at UB is one or two terms.

What are the titles related to adjuncts?

Qualified ranks are used primarily to designate faculty members whose primary contributions will be in one area of academic activity. For example, the "Research" prefix is appropriate for faculty members whose activities are primarily in research; "Clinical" for those teaching in a clinical environment as part of an established academic program; "Adjunct" for those with appropriate professional qualifications who perform teaching or research in connection with an academic program. These positions may be full time, part time or voluntary.

Adjuncts at the university generally have one of the following titles, with the title of "Adjunct Instructor" most commonly used.

  • Emeritus Adjunct Instructor
  • ADJC Assistant Professor
  • Adjunct Professor
  • ADJC Associate Professor
  • Adjunct Instructor
  • Emeritus Adjunct Professor

Do adjuncts have office space?

Adjuncts may be given office space if a unit has it available.  Units and departments try, when space is available, to accommodate adjuncts.  Sometimes this might be a single office but it is often a shared space.  In some cases office space is at such a premium that the department may not always be able to provide space.  Office assignments are always decided by the hiring department and there is no university policy in that regard.

UB guidelines for allocating, managing and building office space are based on an extensive review of office space standards for state systems of higher education around the country.  The findings of the UB Facilities Master Plan indicate that all space categories show a need for additional space.  The  findings show there is an overall shortage of 670,000 assignable square feet (ASF) or a 17% space shortage over existing space and a need for additional academic offices is shown with a 120,700 ASF deficit