Congress Deciding to Do Its Job and Address Adjunct Crisis

Migrant Intellectual


In response to the call for testimony, I submitted the following to Congress:

1. For how long have you worked as a contingent faculty or instructor?

* 1993-2003, Graduate Assistant, Teaching Assistant at private and public colleges and universities in New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Switzerland. (this is a form of unregulated contingency, too).

*2003-2011, Adjunct in Liberal Arts and Humanities in Vermont and New Hampshire.
2. How would you describe the working conditions of contingent faculty and instructors at your college or university, including matters like compensation, benefits, opportunities for growth and advancement, job stability, and administrative and professional support?

* compensation: on an average 20 student enrollment, I was paid less than 15%; with a doctorate I was paid less than 20%; “contact hours” are 3-4 per section per week with a minumum of 7-9 hours “donated” for prep, grading, advising, electronic communications, phone, tutorials. Please read:

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Tips for Navigating Corporatized Colleges and Universities

The fight is against corporatization. The first stage was adjunctification, which, instead of “equal pay” or any other improvement of adjunct conditions, should be the focus of revolt. If we can reverse adjunctification, we can stop corporatization, The missing link is students. If students understood what was happening, if they became radicalized, if they demanded justice, something would happen. Do students really understand how their impending loan debt is wrapped up with the exploitation of faculty? How can we radicalize students?


Guest blogger Jeanne Zaino is professor of political science and international studies at Iona College.

In his provocative and deeply depressing The Last Professors Frank Donoghue warns that corporate logic has taken over the academy.  His findings are confirmed by Andrew DeBlanco who, in his award winning College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be not only bemoans the demise of liberal arts education, but attributes it to several factors including the “commercialization of American higher education.”

Tellingly neither Donoghue nor DeBlanco call on humanists to rise up. Nor do they offer any real hope that the liberal arts generally, or the humanities in particular, can be resuscitated. Far from a call to arms, these books are elegies, laments, requiems. As Donoghue writes, “the conditions to which many seek a return – healthy humanities departments populated by tenure-track professors who discuss books with adoring students in a cloistered setting – have…

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Squandering Our Moral Capital

re-blogged from:

by: William Pannapacker

Professor of English, Faculty Director of the Digital Liberal Arts Initiative of the Great Lakes Colleges Association, and Director of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholars Program in the Arts and Humanities at Hope College

November 19, 2013

As a parent of three children who are nearing college age, there is one question that I will ask repeatedly when we tour different campuses:

“What percentage of your courses is taught by tenure-line faculty members?”

I don’t think, for one second, that anyone who is leading a campus tour will have a good answer. Tour guides might not even know what I’m asking about. And if they don’t know that, they surely don’t know what their adjunct faculty members are paid. Or whether they have health benefits…

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