Category Archives: Contingent faculty

March 25, 2014, 1:45 pm

Why the Adjunct System Hurts Students

tee-rhrI left Zenith University a little over two years ago, but every once in a while one of my former students hunts me down for a recommendation. Fortunately, I actually kept a lot of those letters I wrote, so in most cases it doesn’t take more than a nip and a tuck to bring one up to speed: “Since graduating with high honors in history, Jason has worked for SEIU and interned at the Smithsonian…..) I don’t mind, even though I now have new students to write for. Zenith paid me well over the years (ok, not always as well as I wanted, but still.) I think writing recommendations for former students is part of some cosmic bargain hammered out over twenty years of tears and snot, to paraphrase Jodie Foster’s Golden Globes speech, even though I now work somewhere else.

But if I had been an adjunct there? No way. I have a number of friends and acquaintances who taught at Zenith — as a post-doc…

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March 16, 2008, 5:39 pm

If At First You Don’t Succeed: Getting A Visiting or Adjunct Teaching Gig — And Do You Really Want One?

Since the dollar is crashing, the Democratic nominee for President is as yet undetermined and Eliot Spitzer has gone home to either a divorce lawyer or years of couples therapy, it is time to return to those unworldly things that are preoccupying us as academics. And what’s at the top of the list for the next two months?

Hiring, or getting hired as, a full-time visitor or adjunct.

Yes, now is the time that unexpected resignations are upon us. Searches have folded without a hire being made. It is the time of year that grants have come through for us, but perhaps not for you. It is the time of year that – for those of you have been on the market – you know now (or strongly suspect) that you won’t be interviewed for any of the jobs you applied for, or that someone else has been hired for the job for which you did get an interview. *Sigh.*

After a year of being on several search…

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March 7, 2008, 2:22 pm

Breakthroughs in Education Department

My partner N pointed me to this article in today’s New York Times about a new charter school in the Bronx where one of the innovations is: teachers will be paid well. The idea is that you could get high quality teachers to commit to teaching secondary school by paying them as though they were intellectuals who did valuable work.

Jeez, why didn’t I think of that? Teachers should be paid professionals, rather than robots reciting a set curriculum. Or recent college graduates looking to do a little social service before law school. Or grown-up lawyers who have made their bundle and think that teaching is going to be a snap after thirty years of doing wills and trusts. Each of these solutions, regardless of what their individual merits might be, relies on paying teachers as little a school district can get away with.

“The school,” writes reporter Elissa Gootman,

“which will run from fifth …

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September 4, 2007, 10:23 pm

Reminiscing: the Radical Was Once A Visiting Professor

I haven’t forgotten that post I said I would do about what visitors should expect from the institutions that hire them. I even thought I might do that post tonight, as I was enjoying oatmeal with brown sugar and fresh bluberries, and a large glass of fresh squeezed o.j. early this morning at the student center. But not now, and this is why; today, as I was leaving the Castle, dead beat from a day of being chair, one of our visiting faculty came out of his office. He leaned over the bannister, gave me a big grin and said good night. Now wasn’t that nice? And our other visitors are terrific too — I can’t tell you how terrific, since I promised not to write about others. But aside from saving my life, they are really great, smart people, and genuinely excited to be at Zenith, which is nice to see.

So, the night before I start my survey course for the umpteenth time, I began to have…

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