If we imitated the Canadian model (Vancouver) that advances the regular movement of adjunct faculty into full time work, our college students would be taught by faculty who are supported in their educational missions and supportive of one another and their institution. Instead, now, we have an inside nucleus of privileged full timers who must sit on more committees every year, are increasingly pressured (as their numbers
If we imitated the Canadian model (Vancouver) that advances the regular movement of adjunct faculty into full time work, our college students would be taught by faculty who are supported in their educational missions and supportive of one another and their institution. Instead, now, we have an inside nucleus of privileged full timers who must sit on more committees every year, are increasingly pressured (as their numbers grow smaller), but who do have job security, academic freedom, superior rights & pay, institutional support, a voting voice within their departments, health care, offices, access to funding, respect, etc. (Adjuncts have NO job security, NO academic freedom, NO rights, poverty level wages, NO support, NO vote and NO voice, NO health care, usually NO office, NO access to funding, and little respect.) If you absorbed these hard working individuals into the full time structure, the fresh infusion of many hands and voices to support the mission of educating our citizens, along with the support and presence of all the things full timers have as a matter of course—these changes would revolutionize and revitalize every single department and institution wherein the changes were made.
As an adjunct I live on poverty-level wages, despite my advanced degrees. I have stellar teaching reviews, teach rigorous courses and my students thrive, but I share an office with 24 other part time faculty, who, like me, have no health benefits, and earn less than 20,000 per year, have no support, no voice and no vote within my departments and little respect.
Academics, by nature, generally love to fully savor each aspect of their academic environment, exploring and experiencing each thing fully. Adjuncts are barred from full inclusion into university life both officially and by culture. Many of our full time colleagues are gracious and sympathetic but there are also those “peers” whose superiority over adjuncts is felt by adjuncts on a daily basis. If we were absorbed into our universities properly, we would devote ourselves both to our departmental mission and to our university vision more fully and energetically- because we would have access, support and a VOICE!
As it is, colleges and universities have a two-tier system: the minority of “haves” and the majority of “have-nots”. The have-nots support the haves within a well-documented system of institutional injustice and deprivation. When you look at the salaries and compensation packages of higher-level administrators within these institutions, the charge of not being able to afford to give the faculty a living wage is an insult to our intelligence. What does it say about American higher education when you consider that 75% of its teachers are living BELOW the poverty line? The fact is, 75% of American faculty are actually eligible for aid to the poor! This is shocking- but what is even more shocking is that this is OLD NEWS! The graduation rates of higher education will never improve significantly as long as you "stiff" 75% of the faculty.
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