Delilah Caldwell, a philosophy instructor at Southern New Hampshire University, may well represent the future of higher education’s teaching force.
As one of the first full-time faculty members at Southern New Hampshire’s online college, Ms. Caldwell taught 20 online courses last year: four at a time for five terms, each eight weeks long. The textbooks and syllabi were provided by the university; Ms. Caldwell’s job was to teach. She was told to grade and give feedback on all student work in 72 hours or less.
During her nonteaching term, Ms. Caldwell worked on developing a course of her own, in environmental ethics. She did all of that work from her home office in Virginia. She was paid $55,000 plus benefits. It was a modest salary compared with those of professors at many other universities, but certainly a step up from the $2,200 per course she was making as an adjunct.
Ms. Caldwell’s stint as a full-time instructor is part of a pilot program that Southern New Hampshire University has conducted over the last year at its College of Online and Continuing Education, an online arm of the university that serves 37,000 students, mostly working adults. The university wanted to see if having full-time instructors would improve student performance and retention, especially in writing-intensive courses. <Read more.>