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Author Topic: Adjuncts please remember  (Read 50195 times)
spinnaker
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« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2012, 1:36:43 PM »

That is what an adjunct is:  A temp.  Once I faced that, I decided to make a different opportunity for myself and my family. 
Over half of my college's courses are taught by temps. The regional accreditor would *prefer* we have no more than 50% of the courses taught by temps.

50%... wow.

And if you go by class size, then temps might be doing 70-80% of the teaching.
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lawilson
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« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2012, 2:17:58 PM »

Wow! You are very fortunate! I currently adjunct for two different universities, one a large state school and the other a SLAC (in different states). Neither offer such a benefit.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 2:19:07 PM by lawilson » Logged
tinyzombie
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« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2012, 2:30:32 PM »

Wow! You are very fortunate! I currently adjunct for two different universities, one a large state school and the other a SLAC (in different states). Neither offer such a benefit.

To whom are you referring, and which benefit do you mean?

(I am assuming health insurance? For future reference, it's helpful to quote all or part of the post of the person you're addressing, so that we all know what you mean.)
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lawilson
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« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2012, 2:39:55 PM »

That's exactly what I meant. Sorry for the error.
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proftowanda
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« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2012, 3:19:09 PM »

Wow! You are very fortunate! I currently adjunct for two different universities, one a large state school and the other a SLAC (in different states). Neither offer such a benefit.

Are you halftime at either campus?  That's what gets employer contribution to coverage at my (large state) school.  If so, that's what you ought to work toward, rather than being scattered across campuses.
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proftowanda
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« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2012, 3:22:57 PM »

That is what an adjunct is:  A temp.  Once I faced that, I decided to make a different opportunity for myself and my family. 
Over half of my college's courses are taught by temps. The regional accreditor would *prefer* we have no more than 50% of the courses taught by temps.

50%... wow.

And if you go by class size, then temps might be doing 70-80% of the teaching.

Or, they may not.  Not allowed in my department and most departments on my campus, with only rare and special exceptions.  It's faculty for frosh in the large-lecture classes, in part because the students are frosh.

But also because other students in large-lecture classes are grad students aka TAs, also employees, and employees need supervisors who are fulltime, and faculty, and on campus for meetings and more with TAs.

Of course, other campuses certainly may operate otherwise, and at their peril.
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kaysixteen
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« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2012, 3:26:29 PM »

They are 'optional' only in the sense that this is a free country and no one has to work at any particular job.  That said, the young academic, however loftily educated on paper he is, is not necessarily qualified to do much, and overqualified for most jobs... add that to the clear surplus of academics, and what one gets is the ability to exploit adjuncts for starvation wages, etc., people who often have little choice.
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lawilson
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« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2012, 3:26:59 PM »

Wow! You are very fortunate! I currently adjunct for two different universities, one a large state school and the other a SLAC (in different states). Neither offer such a benefit.

Are you halftime at either campus?  That's what gets employer contribution to coverage at my (large state) school.  If so, that's what you ought to work toward, rather than being scattered across campuses.

That's a good idea! But unfortunately, neither school provides such an option for their adjuncts.
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slinger
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« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2012, 3:45:34 PM »

K16, would you please remind me, exactly what sort of academic experience do you have?

They are 'optional' only in the sense that this is a free country and no one has to work at any particular job.  That said, the young academic, however loftily educated on paper he is, is not necessarily qualified to do much, and overqualified for most jobs... add that to the clear surplus of academics,

All of this is very well true. 

and what one gets is the ability to exploit adjuncts for starvation wages, etc., people who often have little choice.

But this is not. Not even close. We DO have a choice. Really, we do. Nobody forces anyone to take a job. And some of us <gasp> accept responsiblity for the consequences of making that choice. Some of us even <bigger gasp> LIKE having made that choice.

Let's assume, as you do, that the problem stems from an overabundance of academics. If that's the problem, then requiring hiring schools to make "non-exploitative" offers to new adjuncts/academics is not the solution. You've got to fix the churning out of too many academics. Maybe instead of raising a ruckus about being "exploited," maybe those academics should make a ruckus out of it being easy for such a large number of people to get through the schooling required? Sounds like they're barking up the wrong tree.  As usual.

But then again, I know you're bullheaded and always right, and I've said plenty on this "injustice" on other threads, so what does it matter anyway?
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categorical
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« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2012, 4:20:11 PM »

I'm not too keen on the discourse here.  I think it's part of the problem, not the solution, to any adjunct problem that we might define. I think it's misleading and even damaging to conceptualize teaching in the way you describe--to look at teaching as a kind of input that can be managed like materials or objects.  This discourse dehumanizes the whole process.

Where did I call it an "input" process?  There is no "solution" to the adjunctification of higher education.  I offered, in oblique reference to a recent post, a suggestion of how best to think about the reality of making one's way through the reality of adjuncthood.

That's fine, but I'm questioning the language that you use, and the implications of that language.  I don't agree that students are "customers" in any real sense, not do I agree that what I teach is a "product" in the classic sense.  Your use of language is metaphorical, and I reject the analogies behind it.  That's all.
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gekko
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« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2012, 4:38:07 PM »

The increasing percentage of positions allocated to adjunct employment serves as a great tool to check the attitudes of people who have had their sense of entitlement validated for their entire lives and now must face the realization that they aren't all that desirable to their field or even society as a whole for that matter.

This happens with the Iowa prom queen who goes to L.A. to become an actress only to bartend, the college sports start who toils away for a few years in AA without getting drafted, and the entry level employee who works for the Widgets Inc for several years before realizing he isn't going to get promoted to manager. You are nothing special and if you bothered for five minutes to look at the feedback given by the market every day, you would understand this. You can wine about it, or you can change your strategy to create actual value for those who seek it.
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bcohlan1
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« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2012, 5:07:52 PM »

You are nothing special and if you bothered for five minutes to look at the feedback given by the market every day, you would understand this. You can wine about it, or you can change your strategy to create actual value for those who seek it.

Uh, no.  The market doesn't get to determine whether or not I'm special.  Employable, yes.

And I must say, wining about it does seem rather more desirable than whining about it.
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categorical
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« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2012, 5:38:25 PM »

The increasing percentage of positions allocated to adjunct employment serves as a great tool to check the attitudes of people who have had their sense of entitlement validated for their entire lives and now must face the realization that they aren't all that desirable to their field or even society as a whole for that matter.

This happens with the Iowa prom queen who goes to L.A. to become an actress only to bartend, the college sports start who toils away for a few years in AA without getting drafted, and the entry level employee who works for the Widgets Inc for several years before realizing he isn't going to get promoted to manager. You are nothing special and if you bothered for five minutes to look at the feedback given by the market every day, you would understand this. You can wine about it, or you can change your strategy to create actual value for those who seek it.

This doesn't fly.  The market isn't what you claim.  It isn't a reality check. It isn't a disinterested force that undergirds just or deserved outcomes.  It just is what it is, a moment of exchange value.  And as with any moment, it can be demonstrated to be aberrant or distorted in time, as in Dutch tulips in the 1630s or American housing in the 2000s.
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marigolds
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« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2012, 5:45:28 PM »

The increasing percentage of positions allocated to adjunct employment serves as a great tool to check the attitudes of people who have had their sense of entitlement validated for their entire lives and now must face the realization that they aren't all that desirable to their field or even society as a whole for that matter.

This happens with the Iowa prom queen who goes to L.A. to become an actress only to bartend, the college sports start who toils away for a few years in AA without getting drafted, and the entry level employee who works for the Widgets Inc for several years before realizing he isn't going to get promoted to manager. You are nothing special and if you bothered for five minutes to look at the feedback given by the market every day, you would understand this. You can wine about it, or you can change your strategy to create actual value for those who seek it.

This doesn't fly.  The market isn't what you claim.  It isn't a reality check. It isn't a disinterested force that undergirds just or deserved outcomes.  It just is what it is, a moment of exchange value.  And as with any moment, it can be demonstrated to be aberrant or distorted in time, as in Dutch tulips in the 1630s or American housing in the 2000s.

Yes. Markets don't enforce morality or merit.
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spinnaker
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« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2012, 7:38:14 PM »


Let's assume, as you do, that the problem stems from an overabundance of academics. If that's the problem, then requiring hiring schools to make "non-exploitative" offers to new adjuncts/academics is not the solution. You've got to fix the churning out of too many academics. Maybe instead of raising a ruckus about being "exploited," maybe those academics should make a ruckus out of it being easy for such a large number of people to get through the schooling required? Sounds like they're barking up the wrong tree.  As usual.


I'd say rather the situation (problem?) stems from a desire for cost efficiency and the evolution of the view of the instructor as an expense more than an asset, enabled by the abundance of good enough academics and a somewhat passive group of accreditors.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 7:40:08 PM by spinnaker » Logged

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