Here's Marc Bousquet, in Inside Higher Ed, eight years ago, and focusing on labor protection for contingent faculty, but note that he opens his article with a case for staffing the weeder courses properly.
First-year students are more likely to persist to their sophomore year when high-stakes “gate-keeper” courses are taught by permanent faculty, and campus unions generate significantly greater undergraduate experience of tenure-stream faculty, observe two studies just released at the annual convention of the American Education Research Association.
[I]t's a task better entrusted to more experienced faculty, for the same reason the recruit's first encounter with the military is a senior noncom.  (Yeah, I'm repeating myself, but no matter how many times I explain this, some goldbrick figures out how to screw it up.)
If you're serious about retention and completion, take the entry level courses seriously. Perhaps then the students also will, rather than looking at them as something to get out of the way.

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