Academe hides lots of realities in fancy words, writes Steve Street, including the truth about who teaches.
A steady stream of reports from faculty groups warns of the consequences of having too large a share of sections taught by adjuncts. Many of those reports also say that colleges take advantage of part-time instructors, failing to provide them with adequate salaries and benefits -- or with the prospect of full-time employment. Based on these ideas, the major faculty unions and also many disciplinary groups have called for colleges to hire more full-timers and have them teach more courses -- while also providing part-timers both with better compensation and with more respect.
Last year, a small community college in Michigan considered a plan to stop employing adjuncts and to have a temporary services agency instead do the formal hiring. The idea was to save the college money and also to save the adjuncts from contributing to a retirement system in which few of them would ever vest.
I’m sick. And I don’t mean sniffles and tickle in my throat. I mean swallowing pitchforks and a jackhammer on the brain. That kind of sick. The doctor calls it strep throat. I call it hell on earth.
In this state, in this death-bed existence, I feel lucky.
I have written a lot about unfair pay for adjunct faculty, or how they aren’t included enough in most departments. These are all important issues, but I think I’m overlooking one of the biggest problems in the adjunct profession: health benefits.
The headline on the press release sure sounds like this is a case to be outraged over: "Ill. prof. fired for teaching about Catholic beliefs in class on Catholicism," says the announcement from the Alliance Defense Fund. Many newspapers articles ran variations of that headline -- "University of Illinois Instructor Fired Over Catholic Beliefs," read one.
Four months after deciding to suspend six sports teams at Diablo Valley College for budgetary reasons, the Contra Costa Community College District has agreed to reinstate the squads to resolve federal gender bias complaints filed against the district.
Freshmen who have many of their courses taught by adjuncts are less likely than other students to return as sophomores, according to a new study looking at six four-year colleges and universities in a state system. Further, the nature of the impact of adjunct instruction varies by institution type and the type of adjunct used, the study finds.
East-West University says that its announcements this month about adjunct hiring have nothing to do with the union drive going on. It's all just a coincidence. Union leaders are dubious.
Instructors at the Art Institute of Seattle on Friday filed signatures with the National Labor Relations Board seeking a union election with the goal of affiliating with the American Federation of Teachers.
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