Media coverage of the adjunct movement for justice across the nation continues:
Some comic relief:
This is an example for San Diego students, and for students everywhere who are interested in social justice.
Originally posted on National Mobilization For Equity:
Despite the reported opposition from New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, the resolution supporting a $5,000 minimum starting salary per course for adjuncts was debated and passed April 4 by the statewide SUNY Student Assembly, which represents some 463,000 students.
The following report is by James DeArce, an adjunct teaching sociology at SUNY New Paltz, who is also a nursing student and Student Trustee Member of the Board of Trustees at SUNY Ulster County Community College:
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Originally posted on National Mobilization For Equity:
morning, April 10, HB14-1154, the Colorado community college “equal pay for equal work” legislation, will be heard before the House Appropriations Committee. As some of you may recall, over nine weeks ago HB14-1154 passed through the House State Affairs Committee. It it passes through “Props” the pace of the legislation will accelerate considerably.
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For those of you who thought I was being a little cranky (or not) with my last post, I’d thought I’d share a little post with you from the site The Professor is In. This piece by Dr. Karen Cordoso, who holds a Ph.D. in English/American Studies from U Mass Amherst and an M.Ed. from Harvard (such a slouch), after some explanation of her personal experience, cuts right to the chase:
Here’s the thing, adjuncts: your chances of “converting” to a secure academic job decrease with every semester—they almost NEVER hire the devil they know. As a woman of color (diversity hire potential!) with exceptional teaching evaluations on five elite campuses, respectable publications, prior administrative experience, an admiring network of students and colleagues as well as a proven commitment to the geographic area, I had the tantalizing delusion that I would be an exception to this grim rule. NOPE. Way later than I should have, I decided to seek work that promised advancement or at least a longer shelf life. If you need stronger medicine here, try Rebecca Schuman’s Thesis Hatement.
For many if not most, being an adjunct is the professional equivalent of domestic abuse, PTSD and Stockholm syndrome rolled into a single despairing plight that has only one feasible resolution: as with any dysfunctional relationship, at some point you must first DECIDE to go, then GO. The terrible thing is that we lack the professional equivalent of transition shelters. However, The Professor is providing one kind of safe space with the Alt/Post-Ac Initiative, and I mention others below.
I was better treated than most working off the tenure track and had a safety net in my partner; I know that I cannot imagine the worst of what some of my adjunct colleagues are experiencing. Yet anyone who is untenured (including TT faculty) ultimately confronts the same dynamic: at some point we have to decide whether our circumstances are worth hanging on to, or else pursue a change. To achieve the latter, we cannot identify as helpless victims, engage in crippling rationalizations, or indulge in wishful thinking. You can’t control what others do, but you CAN decide what YOU will do.
Dr. Cordoso ultimately ended up choosing a different career path. Not all of us have or want that option, but like her, we CAN decide what WE will do.
You can read the rest of her post here:
A Good adjunct who has decided what he CAN do, and is DOING it.
I came across this little gem “published” by an Ethan Rop giving a sort of backhanded argument to those in the Sciences as to why departments should hire adjuncts, and conversely, how adjuncting can be a way of picking up a little extra money, and get this, a form of “entertainment”:
(Note my responses to his points in parentheses)
In these troubled economic times, more academic departments turn to untenured teaching options as a way to meet staffing needs. Many R1 investigators are finding it harder and harder to capture grants, which means fewer indirect monies for departments. Adjuncts, visiting professors, and lecturers (oh my!) are increasingly called upon to take the load off. It ain’t hard to see why. Today, I’m going to deal with just adjuncting, or the practice of paying someone to teach “by the class”.
If your primary academic mission is not teaching, then it makes little sense to have your profs devote hours per week to teaching Intro Psych or Gen Bio when they could be writing multimillion dollar research grants. And since funds are low for everyone, new tenure track hires are even more painful; thousands of dollars go into a search, hundreds of thousands go into a startup package for your typical assistant professor labspace. If you have the option to staff your classes with cheap, temporary labor, why wouldn’t you?
To be fair, there are clear benefits to adjuncting for both the institution and the wayward adjunct. These include-
- Minimal application process/expenditures- You can often get a job simply by emailing a department chair and asking “hey, you need any courses covered?”
(Sorry, Ethan, not always true. By the way, are you still paying off those loans you accrued while seeking an advanced degree?)
- Defined hours- The adjunct is there to cover a course, period. No departmental meetings or other bullshit time sinks.
(Yeah. And no office, no instructional support, no professional development, no respect, no job security, no collegiality, yeah…bullshit)
- Money- Adjuncts don’t make great pay, but it is nice when you need a little extra money in a short amount of time. You can work as much as is available. The Uni benefits from not having to spend as much on searches and bennies.
(Yeah, I can take the crappy pay to supplement the crappy pay I make AS AN ADJUNCT. And you’re right Ethan, I not only can work as much as I’m available–I have to!)
- Entertainment- Admit it, you like teaching. Why not dabble, and get paid for it?
(That’s right. I like teaching because I dabble. Teaching is dabbling, as opposed to doing something serious, like research. I’m sure these ‘dabblers’ must make the best teachers over the dumb schmucks like me who see it as an actual profession.)
- Full time transition- at least at community colleges, if you’ve been a successful adjunct for a while, you may have a leg up if a TT spot opens.
(Really? Really? Then Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny must be real after all!)
- Sharpen your skillz- never taught before? Here’s a chance to get some teaching under your belt.
(I’m sure the students and the rest of the faculty are happy know you’re going to use them as your metaphorical whetstone).
To be fair, the rest of his post deals with the downsides of being an adjunct, but give me a f*cking break. All the crap being trotted out here is a perfect example of why adjunct numbers and exploitation rise.
To read Ethan’s full post here (should you want to), here’s the link:
Now, stop wasting your time, and go dabble
A Good adjunct who doesn’t teach to dabble
Rebecca Schuman at Vitae:
Originally posted on pan kisses kafka: