Adjunctification is the first stage of privatization: adjunctification, corporatization, privatization. The end.
We have been adjunctified.
American higher education is in a state of crisis: an adjunct crisis. We, the professoriate, are, for the most part, in denial. The longstanding trend in higher education of hiring faculty on a contingent, part-time basis to replace retiring, full-time faculty and teach an increasing student population has resulted in three or four generations of marginalized college faculty who are not living the professional lives they envisioned when they were earning their advanced degrees, and who, therefore, face a personal crisis. And we, both full-time and part-time professors, as well as the institution of higher education itself, face a crisis as tenured faculty slowly disappear and are replaced by a pool of temporary workers or, eventually, perhaps, technological “innovation,” and higher education as we know it dies.
The crisis of identity for adjunct faculty takes different forms, at different times, in different places, but is an undercurrent that flows through their lives. Adjunct faculty, a de facto underclass, carry the institution of higher education on their backs for just above poverty wages. For many, the lure of a tenure-track position keeps them from facing their actual circumstances. Some are simply so busy maintaining a professional practice, and trying to make ends meet, under oppressive conditions, they hardly have time, between campuses, to consider their dismal fate. Rationalization is the dominant coping mechanism.
This site is intended to be a forum for individual adjuncts to share their personal stories, their “adjunct moments,” but also for a discussion about the current crisis in higher education, and its effect on the insitution as a whole. Everyone is invited. We hope to radicalize the conversation, ultimately, with the hope of changing the discourse from one about improving adjunct conditions to one about reversing adjunctification. Reversing adjunctification, with justice, means transitioning part-timers into full-timers. Any other outcome will be unjust.
Together, contract and adjunct faculty, and students, must face the crisis towards which we are heading before, perhaps, it is too late to take action to reverse course. We aim to awaken more of the professoriate to the dire situation we together face.