A colleague has worked as an adjunct at the same institution for six years and
not a whisper of a FT position even with a PhD, published research in
respectable peer-review journals and stellar reviews. Therefor, she delivers the
course information as contracted; no more, no less. All of her courses are
designed so that she can apply it across her discipline (chemistry) so prep-time
is minimal and all tests are TF, fill in the blank, so grading is easy to
automate. Even in academics, you get what you pay for.In order to
"encourage" any organization to come to the bargaining table, you need
get their attention. This is to be done by establishing a union that covers both
adjunct and FT tenure-tracked faculty. Then the faculty union needs to create a
situation (strike) so that the institution has to negotiate and faculty are not
in danger of being fired. Imagine what would happen if BYU or the University of
Utah were closed down for an entire semester? And what academic is willing to
commit career suicide by crossing the picket line?Worked for Jimmy
Hoffa and the Teamsters, why not with colleges and universities?
Take the salary from the tenured, who barely, if ever, teach. You've got
some professors at public schools make $150-200K or more and never teach a
single undergraduate class. SamSmith is mistaken - most teaching is done by
Thirty years ago in Hugh Nibley's BYU commencement address "Leaders to
Managers, the Fatal Shift" Nibley talked of how the world was moving towards
knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Those who
run universities, reward professors for the money they bring in. In a
university, the undergraduate brings in a very small amount of the funding
required to finance a University. Thus an adjunct professor, who is skilled in
teaching, is not as prized as even a Graduate Assistant who facilitates tenured
professors research and publications. The tenured professor brings money in
through grants, publications and "prestige" which enlarge the coffers of
"the endowment" for the university. It appears that the
value of a solitary student, taught by an adjunct professor, positively changing
a dozen or so lives over 40 years does not carry the same "value" to the
university as the tenured professor who brings federal and private lucre to the
coffers and yet cannot influence an undergrad to change a life including their
own.Rock on Henry Zwick.
Back up a couple of steps.Today's colleges and universities are
too often little more than leftist indoctrination centers pushing the meme that
government centralized planning, unions, and statism are the solutions to
everything. (And the bogus notion that all the evil rich much have cheated and
are not paying "their fair share.')This move is not to get
better pay for adjuncts. It is a move to give more power to unions, empower
their bosses, and fund their operation.Too many people go to college
for the wrong reasons. Too many classes are poorly taught by adjuncts (Heck,
Obama was one!) instead of the real professors, most of whom are NOT actually
dong serious research or writing.Major reforms are needed in higher
ed, but unionizing adjuncts is near the bottom of the list.
Would you rather have your child taught by a professor of the academic
equivalent of an office temp?
If it wasn't for adjunct professors a lot of schools would have to turn
away a huge number of students. I agree with those on these boards who feel
these teachers are underpaid while there administrative budgets continue to get
bloated. Do State supported institutions really need "internal
marketing" departments? Why are they advertising when they can't accept
all the applicants they already have. Its time to prioritize and put students
and those who teach them first.
Johnny Moser, This is exactly why Ph.Ds in colleges and universities
tend to be well paid. They are professionals who are experts in their subjects.
For this we have to pay. As for professionals in other fields, my experience is
that they do not do well in the classroom. In fact, the reputation is that they
can't teach at all and I have known many students who avoid them. But we
can't be too surprised, they are not professional teachers. This is not
what they do and we can't expect them to do as well as those who are
I considered doing some teaching at the collegiate level several years ago.
After some investigation into what I would actually get paid for the time
invested and required it was obviously not worth what I considered my time to be
worth. If you want to get qualified and skilled people in front of the students,
you have to pay what those people are worth. Education from qualified and
experienced professionals will likely be more valuable to students than a class
that covers the "textbook" written by some PhD that is babysat by his
TA.Just another point reinforcing what is wrong with the education programs of
the colleges and universities today.
As for "where will the money come from," let me illuminate. My husband
is a high school teacher with 30 years experience and a masters degree. During
the summer, he works as an adjunct professor for a for-profit university. For
teaching one semester-long class, he is paid $1,600 gross, no benefits of any
kind. The for-profit does a poor job of supplying his classroom, which is
usually rented space on a state college campus. Needed equipment and supplies
are rarely provided, even though the for-profit school says it will do so. Like
so many teachers, my husband fills in the gaps out of our own pockets. Why?
Because he is a teacher and he cares about his students, who are usually
struggling adults. Checking the tuition cost, my husband figured that the
school is pulling in over $30K for his one class. The for-profit
university's expenses in salary and infrastructure are minimal. As for the
rest? It's for profit, that's what running a school like a business
It never ceases to amaze me how so many people who post comments here think that
the wealthy should have the money they earned, while saying to the laborer that
they are not entitled to theirs. The difference between the rich and the poor
is that the powerful can control their price much easier than the lowly worker.
Hence the need for union voices.
Where will the money come from? From cutting bloated administrative
budgets. Cut the little perk programs that mainly benefit administrators and
serve very few students or make very little contribution to learning.
Administrators outnumber teachers by a wide margin.Why should
anybody else care about adjunct representation?Because adjuncts
don't get the same facility support, technical resources, curriculum aids,
continuing training, centralized supervision, or even sufficient campus
orientation. This all makes lower quality student learning. And it won't
change until they have leverage.
This is the same argument as the justification for a low minimum wage.
Businesses or here colleges make the argument that their positions aren't
meant to provide someone a living wage but to be only a part time job. The
problem in our current economy is that they are being used as a loop hole to
keep from creating real jobs.Colleges have been doing this for
years, having famous names on their faculty lists that don't really teach
instead having classes taught by adjuncts or TA's.Just one more
case of deceptive advertising.
Before looking at the low pay offered to adjunct professors, keep in mind how
their job differs from that of credentialed PhDs or even lecturers. Adjunct
professors generally have a full time job and teach one or maybe two classes at
at time. A good friend of mine is an attorney that teaches one night per week,
and it's not for the money. Lecturers are full-time collegiate teachers who
do receive benefits. Professors with PhDs do not teach a lot as their primary
job is research, which leads to textbooks and other publications. Just because
they all work at the same place doesn't mean that they do the same thing.
We wouldn't expect a nurse to be paid the same as a physician, nor would we
expect them to receive benefits if they only work one shift per week. As for pay
freezes, that has happened to full professors at times as well. Besides, when
you have lots of other people wanting the jobs, why should universities pay more
when equally qualified people are willing to perform job for less?