Saturday, January 28, 2006

Adjunct blues..

This is my last semester on "probation" (what my CC substitutes for the tenure-track) -- at the end of this semester they'll decide if they should keep me or boot me. All indications are that they'll keep me -- I've made pretty decent contributions to the college and my students don't complain very often (1 reached VP level, another dean level -- that's it, not bad for 200+ per semester, plus 100 over the summer..).

Although my current state and school seem to actually treat adjunct instructors as people who need both decent pay AND benefits, it is still the case that they have some problems -- mostly ones of predictability of course load etc...

In my former state, things weren't nearly as rosy -- that is where I did most of my adjunct work.

In my former state, the union didn't cover adjuncts. We were pretty much on our own-- short notice assignments, no offices and embarrassingly low pay for teacihng more students. I wasn't teaching at high-profile research instittuions, rather I was at an average urbanish public university, a semi-selective private university and a combined community and technical college without much focus... The best pay of the bunch was $2,000/semester at the public school where adjuncts were limited to 3 courses per semester and 1 over the summer. The private school was $1800/semester with a 2 course limit and no summer. The community college was about $1300/quarter, with a limit of 9 classes per year.

The math maxed out to about $24,000 per year, with the only "benefit" offered was the opportunity to contribute my own funds (no matching) to a 401K.

What used to make me the most angry was that the tenured faculty at the private school taught the same number of courses as I did. I made $12,000 for the year, they made $60,000. They weren't big publishers -- no rock stars in this department... in my discipline, if a rock star were to enter the state, the only option would be the place I did my grad work... So, these guys sat on a few committees for the extra $48,000/year they got paid above and beyond their teaching. I could have gone to a lot of meetings for that kind of cash.

And.. yes, they had adjuncts teaching business ethics. I took business ethics from an over-worked adjunct. He was great and probably the most demanding teacher I had --- little did I know that I'd be in his position later -- as my adjunct work was at the same school where I did my undergrad...

I have to say that I am very thankful for my opportunity to teach at the philosophy factory--- it is often like working in a factory... but at least the pay is regular, the dean and VP reasonable and my colleagues have a good sense of humor about our factory work. It is kind of my fantasy that hubby could get a job in BN state and I'd be able to stay at my philosophy factory until I'm teaching to supplement social security... my worry is that it won't work out that way... only time will tell.

maybe hubby will forget the grad grind and play poker and video games for a living...

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