College: Cheaper Fast Food Is 'Benefit' of Being Adjunct

September 8, 2016

Looking for reasons to teach? What about a discount at Arby’s, Subway or Chick-fil-A? (That last one’s dine-in only.) Adjunct instructors at Motlow State Community College recently received a handout detailing the “benefits” of teaching there part-time. Among them are “recognition,” in the form of eligibility for a Faculty Excellence Award; free Microsoft Office 365 software; and discounts to a number of fast-food restaurants in the Tullahoma, Tenn., area. Goodwill also was on the discount list.

“Thank you so much to all of our adjunct faculty for all you do to support Motlow State! We are so appreciative of your time and effort,” Melody Edmonds, interim vice president for academic affairs, wrote in an email containing the flier attachment. “I hope you find this helpful. It is just some other ways we try and show our gratitude for the outstanding service you provide to our students every day.”

Though well intentioned, the flier struck a nerve with some adjuncts, who criticized it as patronizing and tone-deaf -- including one who wanted to remain anonymous, citing job security concerns. “Getting 10 percent off my (dine-in only!) meal at Chick-fil-A is a perk,” the adjunct said via email. “Health insurance is a benefit. The language in the email itself is also a problem. I thought I was paid to educate students, not serve them.”

Edmonds that the said the benefits flier “was sent out simply to make our adjuncts aware of what is available to them.” The same “benefits are also available to all of our full-time faculty, staff and students,” she said.

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