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Sat Sep 22, 2012, 01:15 PM

Part-time faculty pay reaching poverty level

http://www.peoplesworld.org/part-time-faculty-pay-reaching-poverty-level/



<snip>

Budget cuts are often blamed for the over-reliance on part-time adjuncts to handle the bulk of teaching. Budgets have indeed been slashed in education, but data shows at the same time, the non-teaching administrative sector has grown.

While college administrations often tout the fiscal advantages of using part-time faculty, they don't apply the same logic to their own ranks. Between 1976 and 2005, part-time faculty rose from 31 percent to 48 percent, while part-time administrators declined from 4 percent to 3 percent.

College administrators' salaries are several levels higher than the wages of adjunct teachers. Although full professors' salaries may seem commensurate with those of administrators, salaries and wages for all teaching staff have not kept pace, even with rising tuition, as reported by the American Association of University Professors.

The AAUP says tuition rose much faster than full-time faculty salaries, with the greatest gap at public institutions, where tuition and fees grew by 72 percent, accounting for inflation, while professors' salaries rose by less than 1 percent at doctoral and baccalaureate institutions and fell by over 5 percent at master's universities.

<snip>



Just to let you know in the interest of disclosure, I'm the author of this article.

15 replies, 2344 views

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Reply Part-time faculty pay reaching poverty level (Original post)
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 OP
zazen Sep 2012 #1
enlightenment Sep 2012 #2
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 #4
enlightenment Sep 2012 #9
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 #10
enlightenment Sep 2012 #15
HiPointDem Sep 2012 #12
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 #13
enlightenment Sep 2012 #14
dkf Sep 2012 #3
mike_c Sep 2012 #5
dkf Sep 2012 #6
mike_c Sep 2012 #7
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 #8
HiPointDem Sep 2012 #11

Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 01:24 PM

1. you're familiar with Bousquet and How the University Works, right?

It's an interesting blog in the world of "critical university studies."

Also, a growing segment of faculty are full-time non-tenure track--in fact, I believe one stat demonstrated that FTNT faculty were hired at a greater rate than TT in the past five years at most research and regional universities. That appears right now to be the most effective long-term way to undermine the tenure system. They become integrated to a larger degree into the organization, but in a permanent second class status kind of way. However, since their exploitation is less egregious and they get to stay put, they don't speak up as much.

Thanks for the post.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 01:32 PM

2. I can attest to that.

Full time faculty wages at the college where I adjunct have been frozen for the last four years - the adjunct wage, which works out to about 40% of the median base wage for full-time faculty, hasn't changed in six years. Adjunct pay at my institution is very close to the bottom of the range you listed in your article.

Adjuncts have no voice, beyond two appointed (not elected) members to the faculty senate, where they serve for one semester - despite the fact that just under half of all courses are taught by adjuncts.

Support varies by department; some adjuncts have a dedicated office available (one office for all the adjuncts in the department) for their use, while others have nothing of the sort (my department). Staff do provide what assistance they can - again, this varies by department. We do have an institutional email address, but are generally not included in department emails beyond the "have you turned your grades in" sort. We have no voice and are never invited to attend department meetings . . .

Bottom line is that adjuncts hardly rate as the red-headed step-child at the college - even though the school would go belly-up if they collectively walked out. Which of course won't happen - not even full-time faculty has a union in my state, much less part-timers.

Yet we are still expected to produce the same quality of instruction and face not just discipline, but non-renewal if we fail to give 100%. Most of the adjuncts do yeoman's work, under far more tedious circumstances than our full-time counterparts - like them, we teach because that is what we want to do and the students are not to blame for the failures of the institution.

Still, it is hard to swallow - particularly when the monthly paycheck arrives.

Nice article, Starry Messenger. Thank you for posting (and allowing my little rant . . .)

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #2)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 02:14 PM

4. Great rant! :D

Thanks for the additions! The work conditions are very similar in our district here, although we do have the union and we've been chipping away at the rockface trying to get some relief and parity.

I had to trim a lot of stuff in the interest of space, but another link you might check out if you haven't already is the New Faculty Majority--it's a professional association, not a union, but they are advocates and activists.

Also, I just saw an article yesterday about the Steelworkers organizing adjuncts into their adjunct division--I don't know what the connection is with Steelworking, but this is interesting: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/education/duquesne-adjunct-faculty-to-join-united-steelworkers-654315/

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 02:46 PM

9. Thanks for the links - I've

been looking at the adjunct project link from your article and it is very interesting. It's too bad that it doesn't break things down more effectively between full-time contract non-tenure (contingent) faculty and 'true' adjuncts who work semester to semester. That would be helpful in differentiating the oft-times large pay ranges.

Still, it's the most information in one place I've seen.

Chances of a union in my state (Nevada) is somewhere between slim and none. The only really powerful union here is the Culinary Union and they have never expressed any interest in folding higher ed into their mix.

One of the most annoying changes that the state has made recently is in regard to the number of courses we can teach. Technically, if we teach 12 credit hours in a semester we're eligible for benefits, so most of the departments make sure that we're never offered more than 9 hours. In the past, however, we were able to pick up a course or two at another institution (the college or uni in town, depending on where we're teaching) to supplement and because the pay came out of two different piles, the "12 hour" rule could be bypassed. We were also allowed to waive our right to benefits - which many did because an additional $2400 was worth more than the crappy health insurance they offer. Now, though, they have combined the 'databases', so we the '12 hour' rule applies regardless of location/s taught.

Meanwhile, it looks like the state is planning on switching to a performance based model for full-time faculty salaries and they're really looking hard at introducing MOOC's into the system, which will obviate the need for a very large percentage of the adjunct faculty - particularly at the college. We're all screwed, I guess.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #9)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 03:04 PM

10. I forgot Nevada was a RTW state.

We have the same thing out here in CA with the "12 hour" bar. They've been getting away with it for awhile by claiming that many adjuncts are "second career" adjuncts who are retired, or who teach as a sideline and don't want the added expense of buying into benefits when they already have another plan, etc.

But more and more are "career" adjuncts--this is their bread and butter. In order to get more classes, you have to go to different districts entirely so you don't bump up against the course-load limit.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #10)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 11:00 PM

15. That's the argument here.

That adjuncts just do it for shits and giggles. (pardon my language) Yes, many do - but an increasing number do not.

Maybe the Adjunct Project can add another category and ask adjuncts if they are, indeed, just doing it for fun.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #9)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 03:20 PM

12. what's a mooc?

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #12)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 04:52 PM

13. Massive open online courses

Like Khan Academy and Coursera. You don't need to be a student at the school, you just take these huge open online courses.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #12)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 10:56 PM

14. Massive Open Online Course

Many are free - most have major issues. There are some that have literally tens of thousands of students enrolled - they are completely automated, so instructors aren't needed. Some, that are coming out of universities, are pre-recorded lectures (and some very good profs are doing this) - but that is the extent of their involvement. No different at that level than listening to an audio book, really.

They are slowly making inroads into higher ed; at the moment they haven't figured out how to standardize them enough to make them worth college credit - but give them time.

Here are a few links that talk about them:

http://www.ecampusnews.com/technologies/17-more-top-universities-offer-free-cyber-courses/
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/09/19/coursera-doubles-university-partnerships#ixzz26vUOOSoP
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/09/14/gates-foundation-solicits-remedial-moocs#ixzz26SDvixAS

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 01:52 PM

3. So why are tuitions so high?

 

There is a very large disconnect. It doesn't make sense.

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Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 02:16 PM

5. tuitions are high at most public universities because of declining public support....

For example, when I joined the California State University in 1997, student tuition accounted for about 20% of the cost of attendance, with the remainder subsidized by the state legislature. That's the public part of public higher education, the investment that states make in their future workforce and citizenry. Since then, tuition has nearly tripled because the state contribution has declined-- student tuition must now cover just less than half the cost of attendance rather than the 20% it covered just 15 years ago.

And that's just the CSU, which started from a position as one of the last great bargains in higher ed in the US. Most other state universities already subsidized a much lower proportion of the cost of attendance when states began slashing their higher ed budgets about ten years or so ago. Most people never see the real cost of higher ed, but these days they're seeing more of it than anytime in the last couple of generations.

on edit: To put the faculty salary issue in perspective, I received a 3 percent raise in 2007, the first I had gotten in two years, i.e. since 2005. Since 2007 I have been promoted, so I went up the salary schedule to full professor, but other than that change in pay grade I have not received any raises-- 0%-- since 2007. In 2010 we took a 10% pay cut through involuntary furloughs. My bargaining unit just signed a four year contract at continued 0% salary increase across the board. All faculty, no salary increases. None. AND management reserved the right to reopen bargaining on salary and benefits if it feels the need to LOWER them.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #5)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 02:27 PM

6. But if its not the faculty expense where is the money being spent?

 

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Response to dkf (Reply #6)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 02:35 PM

7. mostly the same places it has always been spent....

Supplies and equipment for classrooms and laboratories. Salary for faculty, staff, and administrators. Student housing. Capital improvements and maintenance. Interest on bonds, in some cases.

Most universities have experienced expansion of their managerial administrator class, and while faculty, staff, and students universally lament the redirection of limited funds into an ever-growing administrative sinkhole, the truth is that firing every single vice president of this or that and rechanneling their salaries back into instruction costs would barely dent the problem. The real costs of running a university are increasing, but only the same way costs are generally increasing in other aspects of American life. What makes them look like they're increasing so precipitously is the concurrent decline in public support. That declining support must be transferred to students in the form of tuition costs.

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Response to dkf (Reply #6)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 02:38 PM

8. Administration--

I linked this in the article, but here is a direct link: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/septemberoctober_2011/features/administrators_ate_my_tuition031641.php



Between 1975 and 2005, total spending by American higher educational institutions, stated in constant dollars, tripled, to more than $325 billion per year. Over the same period, the faculty-to-student ratio has remained fairly constant, at approximately fifteen or sixteen students per instructor. One thing that has changed, dramatically, is the administrator-per-student ratio. In 1975, colleges employed one administrator for every eighty-four students and one professional staffer—admissions officers, information technology specialists, and the like—for every fifty students. By 2005, the administrator-to-student ratio had dropped to one administrator for every sixty-eight students while the ratio of professional staffers had dropped to one for every twenty-one students.

<snip>

Every year, hosts of administrators and staffers are added to college and university payrolls, even as schools claim to be battling budget crises that are forcing them to reduce the size of their full-time faculties. As a result, universities are now filled with armies of functionaries—vice presidents, associate vice presidents, assistant vice presidents, provosts, associate provosts, vice provosts, assistant provosts, deans, deanlets, and deanlings, all of whom command staffers and assistants—who, more and more, direct the operations of every school. If there is any hope of getting higher education costs in line, and improving its quality—and I think there is, though the hour is late—it begins with taking a pair of shears to the overgrown administrative bureaucracy.

Forty years ago, America’s colleges employed more professors than administrators. The efforts of 446,830 professors were supported by 268,952 administrators and staffers. Over the past four decades, though, the number of full-time professors or “full-time equivalents”—that is, slots filled by two or more part-time faculty members whose combined hours equal those of a full-timer—increased slightly more than 50 percent. That percentage is comparable to the growth in student enrollments during the same time period. But the number of administrators and administrative staffers employed by those schools increased by an astonishing 85 percent and 240 percent, respectively.


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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 03:17 PM

11. i read somewhere that non-attached personnel made up something like 70+% of college/university

 

teaching corps -- adjuncts, TAs, term-to-term contract faculty & the like.

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