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NSOPF was conducted in response to a continuing need for data on faculty and instructors - persons who directly affect the quality of education in postsecondary institutions. Faculty are the pivotal resource around which the process and outcomes of postsecondary education revolve. They often determine curriculum content, student performance standards, and the quality of students' preparation for careers. Faculty members perform research and development work upon which this nation's technological and economic advancement depends. Through their public service activities, they make valuable contributions to society. For these reasons, it is essential to understand who they are; what they do; and whether, how, and why they are changing. This study was designed to provide data about faculty to postsecondary education researchers, planners, and policymakers. NSOPF is the most comprehensive study of faculty in postsecondary educational institutions ever undertaken.