Monday, April 13, 2015

A Tenured Professor On Why Hiring Adjuncts Is Wrong

A Tenured Professor On Why Hiring Adjuncts Is Wrong:
As the college admissions season winds down, I hav­e some hard choices to make, but my dilemma is not about choosing where to enroll. It’s about how many adjunct instructors I will hire to teach required courses next fall. As a department chair at Columbia University, I am compelled to hire many people on a part-time basis, although they want and deserve full-time jobs. These adjuncts are among the finest, longest-serving instructors in many universities, and it’s well known that their lasting contributions can transform the lives of their students. It’s also no secret that they are getting a raw deal. Overworked and underpaid, they often struggle to get by and, when taken to an extreme, the consequences can be tragic. 

With each passing year, it becomes clearer that cheap labor has become the hidden foundation of American higher education. According to the American Association of University Professors, more than 50 percent of all faculty hold part-time appointments. A vast workforce of mostly non-unionized adjunct instructors—the so-called “contingent faculty”—now comprises the core of the teaching faculty. They often teach as many courses as full-time instructors, but because they are considered part-time, they have no voting power in departments or universities, no benefits, no job security and no office in which to meet with their students."

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