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News: Talk online about your experiences as an adjunct, visiting assistant professor, postdoc, or other contract faculty member.
 
Poll
Question: If you are currently tenured or TT, did you adjunct as a primary job between completing your education and getting your job?
No, not at all - 46 (49.5%)
Yes, for 1 year or less - 12 (12.9%)
Yes, for 1-2 years - 11 (11.8%)
Yes, for 2-3 years - 5 (5.4%)
Yes, for 3-4 years - 6 (6.5%)
Yes, for 4-5 years - 6 (6.5%)
Yes, for more than 5 years - 7 (7.5%)
Total Voters: 93

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Author Topic: Tenured/TT faculty: Did you adjunct? How long?  (Read 49645 times)
janewales
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« Reply #45 on: May 01, 2012, 2:26:38 AM »

The most common reason to use adjuncts is lower cost.


Spinnaker, do you include VAP positions in this statement? My department hires VAPs for things like sabbatical or administrative replacement. They are short-term, high expertise positions; that is, we need, say, someone to teach the senior 18th-century courses while the 18th-century specialist is on sabbatical, or acting as an associate dean, or whatever. Money saving isn't really an issue here; the tenure-track 18th-century specialist is still receiving full salary or close to it. In this case, then, adjuncts allow flexibility (the tenure-track 18th-century specialist can take a research leave, or be released for significant service, or recover from a serious illness), but don't really represent a cost savings.
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polly_mer
practice makes perfect
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Posts: 37,441

Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #46 on: May 01, 2012, 7:33:44 AM »

Ok, Spinnaker, I will grant you that some places are using contingent faculty to save money.  After all, I'm leaving one of those full-time positions because, as non-TT faculty, I was making half of what a TT person did when I was doing the same job.

However, Quietly is right that sometimes a department needs one class taught by an expert or two extra sections of a low-level class taught for unexpected demand.  The department cannot make a full position out of those situations, despite fluctuating demand in one of the intro and/or service classes happening nearly every term.  That just cannot be done, however much you think a full-time position could be found.
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spinnaker
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Posts: 1,902


« Reply #47 on: May 01, 2012, 9:33:36 AM »

Reminds me: our administrators enjoy saying "we use adjuncts for short-term needs." It's misleading, not false. If I were in math class, I could correctly state "I am five pounds overweight" even though I am twenty-five pounds overweight. But in common usage, I would be full of sh!t.
You can't have a good discussion without honesty.

The most common reason to use adjuncts is lower cost.


Spinnaker, do you include VAP positions in this statement? My department hires VAPs for things like sabbatical or administrative replacement. They are short-term, high expertise positions; that is, we need, say, someone to teach the senior 18th-century courses while the 18th-century specialist is on sabbatical, or acting as an associate dean, or whatever. Money saving isn't really an issue here; the tenure-track 18th-century specialist is still receiving full salary or close to it. In this case, then, adjuncts allow flexibility (the tenure-track 18th-century specialist can take a research leave, or be released for significant service, or recover from a serious illness), but don't really represent a cost savings.


They won't be getting a pension though.

Ok, Spinnaker, I will grant you that some places are using contingent faculty to save money.

Baby steps. Good.
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janewales
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Posts: 2,584


« Reply #48 on: May 01, 2012, 10:58:48 AM »

They won't be getting a pension though.


I'm not sure I see your point. In the case of the VAP replacing someone seconded to administration, the university is paying the salary of the tenure-track faculty member, AND the salary of the VAP. That's an extra cost, not a savings. Whether or not the salary of the VAP includes pension contributions isn't relevant, since the VAP salary, whatever its size, is still an added expense rather than a savings.

Of course not all adjuncts are of this sort; I just wondered whether you would include this type of employment in your discussion, because in this particular case, the short-term employment really is a specific response to a limited situation, rather than a cost-saving measure.
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glowdart
that's a thing that I keep in the back of my head
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« Reply #49 on: May 01, 2012, 11:52:02 AM »



Ok, Spinnaker, I will grant you that some places are using contingent faculty to save money.

Baby steps. Good.


Of course there are schools who hire adjuncts to save money.  But that's not the whole picture, either. 

But there are also scenarios -- fairly common ones -- where a school will hire an adjunct to teach one course or two every now and then for no reason other than they need someone to teach Trumpet or Runway Show Management every now and then.  The people they hire as an adjunct are more qualified to teach those courses than the full time faculty, but there's no need for those courses more than once every couple of years or once a year. 

But, there is a spectrum.  Your experiences are clearly with schools on the adjunct exploitation end of the spectrum.  Many of us have seen different uses of adjuncts, some of which are perfectly valid and legitimate.
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miadjunct
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Posts: 20


« Reply #50 on: May 01, 2012, 12:51:25 PM »

Spinnaker,

When will you get the message that this is not a black and white issue. Polly, myself, and many others have agreed that there are schools (or departments within schools) that hire adjuncts for the sole purpose of saving money and some treat them miserably, failing to provide the resources necessary to do an outstanding job as a teacher.
However, I am convinced that such institutions are way down the ladder of educational quality as these actions demonstrate that they do not care about their students.
There are many responses in this and other threads that document well that there are many legitimate roles for non-TT faculty to play in a university setting and the painting of the "adjunct situation", as some call it, with a broad brush diminishes these outstanding educators and their very real contribution to higher education. 
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spinnaker
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 1,902


« Reply #51 on: May 01, 2012, 10:05:50 PM »


Of course there are schools who hire adjuncts to save money.  But that's not the whole picture, either.  

But there are also scenarios -- fairly common ones -- where a school will hire an adjunct to teach one course or two every now and then for no reason other than they need someone to teach Trumpet or Runway Show Management every now and then.  The people they hire as an adjunct are more qualified to teach those courses than the full time faculty, but there's no need for those courses more than once every couple of years or once a year.  

But, there is a spectrum.  Your experiences are clearly with schools on the adjunct exploitation end of the spectrum.  Many of us have seen different uses of adjuncts, some of which are perfectly valid and legitimate.

Chances are good the guy teaching trumpet or runway show management is exploited too. Now you're giving him accolades. Trumpet professor guy, if you're reading this, we love you.
I suppose it's not a harder life than playing for the circus.
My point is, adjunct hirers frequently make use of a segment of society that tends to live on a shoe string, then go around talking about the adjunct's spouse who has a great job or trust fund or pension or whatever sounds good to them at the moment. There are many things worse than profiting from exploitation and one of them is profiting from exploitation, then denying it.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 10:06:47 PM by spinnaker » Logged

"I never agree with Spinnaker, but..."
quietly
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Posts: 665


« Reply #52 on: May 02, 2012, 3:31:30 AM »


My point is, adjunct hirers frequently make use of a segment of society that tends to live on a shoe string, then go around talking about the adjunct's spouse who has a great job or trust fund or pension or whatever sounds good to them at the moment. There are many things worse than profiting from exploitation and one of them is profiting from exploitation, then denying it.

Yes, we've heard and acknowledged your point. You don't seem to be returning the courtesy. 

Q.
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miadjunct
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Posts: 20


« Reply #53 on: May 02, 2012, 8:31:07 AM »

My point is, adjunct hirers frequently make use of a segment of society that tends to live on a shoe string, then go around talking about the adjunct's spouse who has a great job or trust fund or pension or whatever sounds good to them at the moment. There are many things worse than profiting from exploitation and one of them is profiting from exploitation, then denying it.

And my point is that adjunct hirers frequently make use of a segment of society that has made it successfully in their chosen field of endeavor and then wish to teach for a myriad of reasons (giving back, enjoying teachng, experiencing the academic environment, etc.).
 Please learn the proper academic writing style of including the proper caveats on your general statements (e.g. "some adjuncts in some schools and some fields are treated poorly" not "adjuncts are treated poorly"). Your use of the term "exploited" is unsubstantiated even for those that are arguably treated poorly.
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spinnaker
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Posts: 1,902


« Reply #54 on: May 02, 2012, 6:29:06 PM »

My point is, adjunct hirers frequently make use of a segment of society that tends to live on a shoe string, then go around talking about the adjunct's spouse who has a great job or trust fund or pension or whatever sounds good to them at the moment. There are many things worse than profiting from exploitation and one of them is profiting from exploitation, then denying it.

And my point is that adjunct hirers frequently make use of a segment of society that has made it successfully in their chosen field of endeavor and then wish to teach for a myriad of reasons (giving back, enjoying teachng, experiencing the academic environment, etc.).


Understood/agreed.

Instead of saying people are exploited (I suspect the usefulness of the term may be a function of your view of what generally happens in a free society with free market economy; free will could even be an issue) let's substitute "the employer takes full advantage of the tendency of certain people to gravitate to this kind of work despite low pay."
Concerning the position that "your income from adjuncting, if it is small, is insufficient to provide a living; therefore, it is not supposed to be needed for sustenance." This is illogical. If someone is spending a lot of time each week doing something that pays little, it may be very likely that he is a person with a small annual income.
Without citing figures of how many adjuncts live in poverty, I can still suspect that people underestimate that number because they believe in the abundance of financially solvent professionals who adjunct on the side for fun for a poor reason: they are listening to college presidents, chancellors and provosts who have the job of advertising the college.
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slinger
Quite Un-
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Posts: 2,848


« Reply #55 on: May 02, 2012, 6:59:52 PM »

You make it too easy.

Instead of saying people are exploited (I suspect the usefulness of the term may be a function of your view of what generally happens in a free society with free market economy; free will could even be an issue) let's substitute "the employer takes full advantage of the tendency of certain people to gravitate to this kind of work despite low pay."

As people on this thread and others have pointed out to you many times, the problem with you using the term "exploitation" is not that your audiences misunderstands the term; it's because you do.

Quote
If someone is spending a lot of time each week doing something that pays little, it may be very likely that he is a person with a small annual income. and he or she is unhappy with that agreed-upon arrangement, he or she should do something else.

I've corrected your sentence in the immediately above quoted section.

Quote
Without citing figures of how many adjuncts live in poverty, I can still suspect that people underestimate that number because they believe in the abundance of financially solvent professionals who adjunct on the side for fun for a poor reason: they are listening to college presidents, chancellors and provosts who have the job of advertising the college.

If you can't cite figures of how many adjunct you claim to represent, you have no case. I suspect that you overestimate the number, but so what? My suspicion means no more than yours.  The difference is that the burden of proof lies with the claimant. In all your time b*tching and whining about this, I have yet to see you provide data that illustrate any of your points.

I'll say it again, in case you forgot since last time. You're barking up the wrong tree. Still.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 7:03:28 PM by slinger » Logged

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spinnaker
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 1,902


« Reply #56 on: May 02, 2012, 9:10:45 PM »


If you can't cite figures of how many adjunct you claim to represent, you have no case.

I don't represent anyone; I recommend that we question what we have been hearing.


And my point is that adjunct hirers frequently make use of a segment of society that has made it successfully in their chosen field of endeavor and then wish to teach for a myriad of reasons (giving back, enjoying teachng, experiencing the academic environment, etc.).
 Please learn the proper academic writing style of including the proper caveats on your general statements (e.g. "some adjuncts in some schools and some fields are treated poorly" not "adjuncts are treated poorly"). Your use of the term "exploited" is unsubstantiated even for those that are arguably treated poorly.

You seem to agree:

Spinnaker,

When will you get the message that this is not a black and white issue. Polly, myself, and many others have agreed that there are schools (or departments within schools) that hire adjuncts for the sole purpose of saving money and some treat them miserably, failing to provide the resources necessary to do an outstanding job as a teacher.


« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 9:18:07 PM by spinnaker » Logged

"I never agree with Spinnaker, but..."
spinnaker
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 1,902


« Reply #57 on: May 02, 2012, 9:44:50 PM »


Quote
If someone is spending a lot of time each week doing something that pays little, it may be very likely that he is a person with a small annual income. and he or she is unhappy with that agreed-upon arrangement, he or she should do something else.


Or, he should do something additional. Like getting another part-time job for which he has trained. He is a good person for this work, and the school is happy to have him. He may be poor and overworked and angry and inclined to unionize, but he does a good job, and he cares about the students.
Quit whining.
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miadjunct
New member
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Posts: 20


« Reply #58 on: May 03, 2012, 9:36:26 AM »

This is illogical. If someone is spending a lot of time each week doing something that pays little, it may be very likely that he is a person with a small annual income.

Your statement is illogical. If someone spends a lot of time each week doing something that pays little, either that person has no other options (read an immigrant laborer) or that person chooses to do that thing for non-monetary rewards (read volunteers, many adjuncts, artists, etc.). The latter may very well be relative high wealth individuals who certainly cannot be characterized as having a small annual income.
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pink_
Empress &
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 6,922


« Reply #59 on: May 03, 2012, 9:40:01 AM »


Quote
If someone is spending a lot of time each week doing something that pays little, it may be very likely that he is a person with a small annual income. and he or she is unhappy with that agreed-upon arrangement, he or she should do something else.


Or, he should do something additional. Like getting another part-time job for which he has trained. He is a good person for this work, and the school is happy to have him. He may be poor and overworked and angry and inclined to unionize, but he does a good job, and he cares about the students.
Quit whining.

Uh, how would you know any of this?  Who is he, anyway?
And how could you begin to support such generalizations?


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