Monday, April 21, 2008

UVSC adjuncts in decline as school hires more full-time faculty

You may remember that The Pipeline reported last month that UVSC adjunct army was getting a slight bump in pay. Over the weekend an article in the Daily Herald looked closer at that pay raise and the declining percentage of adjuncts teaching classes.

UVSC adjunct professors face unsure future (Daily Herald, April 20 2008)

There were a few interesting nuggets in the article, the first being that the school's adjunct faculty organization was disbanded earlier this year over fears that it was acting as a union. God forbid (and so does state law) that these poor folks rally around a common cause like getting paid a living wage. With the pay raise, adjuncts will be making a whopping $1750 per three-credit class taught. If the average adjunct teaches between two and three classes per semester that figures to a bimonthly paycheck of just over $600. No adjunct can teach more than 4 classes a semester. Try scraping out a living on that while paying back grad school loans. Also remember that adjuncts receive no benefits. They would probably be better off managing a Burger King.

But The Pipeline's favorite quote came from adjunct accounting prof (and deposed leader of the now-defunct adjunct "union") Gary Petersen who said, "Most adjuncts won't even know that they've had a raise. Their six or seven paychecks through a semester may go up $10 each. It's a great gesture from the college and all the adjuncts appreciate it. It's just 5 percent of a very small amount -- it doesn't amount to very much."

In other words, even the guy who used to fight for adjunct rights is so used to being pushed around by the school that when a few extra crumbs fall from the table all he can say is "Thank you sir, may I have another?"

Adjuncts keep the academic gene pool fresh and diverse, usually bringing real-world experience and the latest trends in their disciplines. As the school diminishes their role there should exist a stringent hiring process that weeds out the slackers and rewards the productive. Adjuncts should make a wage that is competitive to what a professional of their caliber makes in their respective industries.

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