Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Lip Service to Liberalism in Academe

Most colleges and universities are viewed by the general public as being liberal in political and social philosophy. And so they manage to be, by advocating more diversity, tolerance, politically correct language, and other things that distress conservatives. Oh, there are also allegations of intolerance of conservatives on the faculty, making it harder for them to get tenure or promotions.

Actually, that sort of thing varies from institution to institution.

But there is one area in which universities and colleges can be as grasping and autocratic as tsarist aristocrats or robber barons: how they treat the adjunct professors, part-time professors by any other name. Consider this: Nationwide, the average income for a senior professor is above $80,000 and deans can run in the $125,000 range; typically, an adjunct if he can work at it full-time gets about $20,00o or less.

Also, they're rendered part-time; so there's no health care or retirement benefits. They take a course on spec; if it is canceled, they're left short. Thus, they might wind up getting paid only half as much as they expected by as late as the first day of classes.

It gets worse: the adjunct professors must share office space if they have any at all. This complicates meeting with students for after-class help.  And adjuncts may encounter mortifications to remind them of their lowly position in the scheme of things. (Full-time tenured faculty may also be complicit in this sometimes.)

On some campuses adjunct instructors are moving towards unionization. This is something that universities have brought on themselves. This treatment of adjuncts isn't right; it's a type of serfdom that the well-padded and overpaid administrators encourage.  And it's hypocritical when they turn around and spout liberal buzzwords!


  1. A friend of mine's daughter was teaching 5 classes at five different schools. She finally quit all that bs and got a real job.

  2. I taught online for years and really enjoyed it. But no benefits, either, even though I was technically full time. The trade off is being able to work from home, dress casually, etc.