His Holiness, Pope Francis
PP. 00120 Via del Pellegrino
Citta del Vaticano
Dear Pope Francis:
I do not know how to begin this letter, so I will just let you know what is happening, in general, with the faculty in Higher Education here in the United States, as in the rest of the world; I will then comment on the particular case that has brought me to ask you for your much needed intervention.
As a person raised in the Catholic tradition, but lately as someone who has been losing faith, I ask you to help me restore it, especially after the disillusion I feel. I have witnessed outright inaction and at times even harmful interventions from entities associated with the Catholic Church here in the United States, purporting against its social doctrine.
My name is Ana Maria Fores Tamayo, and I have been working part-time for a Catholic newspaper in…
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From The Unarmed Education Mercenary
Eliana Osborn discusses her vision of the future of adjuncts in her blog for the Chronicle of Higher Education- “Community Colleges”
“The current system is not sustainable. That means hard, painful choices, and changes are going to have to happen.”
Osborn is an adjunct instructor at Arizona Western College since 2001, teaching mostly developmental English.
I initially was going to post this as a comment to Aaron’s post, but it became too lengthy to seem a reasonable “comment.”
Like Aaron, I myself and many others among us who now hold tenure-track positions have had some experience as adjunct faculty. I taught at four institutions for six years while finishing my dissertation–or, more precisely, while eventually trying to time my application for the degree to any sign of even a modest improvement in what was then a terrible job market. (I wonder how old one has to be to remember the last time that the higher-ed job market was actually “good.” In 1978, when I started my graduate studies, the bottom must have fallen out, for there were 29 new Ph.D’s for every tenure-track opening.) I calculated that being slow to finish the degree would be less a liability than having an “old” degree. As it…
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Why is it that we, the lucky ones, try so hard to divorce ourselves from those who have not had the same breaks? Why do we, the tenured ones, look away when we see adjuncts grading papers while sitting in a stairwell? Why do we, the lordly observers, think of ourselves as the master teachers when sitting in on the class of a part-timer who may be teaching at two other schools—and whose sense of our students is probably better than our own? Why do we, with our lovely PhDs, think of ourselves as having “earned” something those poor contingent hires could not—forgetting that our degrees are also a gift from those who financed our schooling and that quite a few of these others also have doctorates? Why do we forget what Phil Ochs tried to teach us so many years ago: “There but for fortune/Go you or I.”
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The adjunct crisis is a tenured crisis.