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Author Topic: Query about Full-Time Faculty Awareness about Adjuncts  (Read 36906 times)
yoyoy
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« Reply #45 on: October 29, 2012, 10:36:38 PM »

I don't see the resentment. It's more like watching the person who keeps dating complete trainwrecks and wondering why that person doesn't adjust the sights to someone who is not a trainwreck.

What an utterly ridiculous analogy.
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larryc
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« Reply #46 on: October 30, 2012, 12:51:01 AM »

In my department I think most of us are fairly aware, and we got the adjuncts a better deal in the last contract (including health insurance for half-time faculty I believe).

At the same time a lot of us look at those people in their fourth or whatever year of underemployment and scraping by and we think, why does this person keep doing it? Sorry if that sounds cold but at some point it is time to refuse to be a party in your exploitation.  

I don't exactly disagree Larry, and I know where you are coming from, but this gets close to resenting the adjunct for simply doing his/her job.
I don't see the resentment. It's more like watching the person who keeps dating complete trainwrecks and wondering why that person doesn't adjust the sights to someone who is not a trainwreck.

That is (more or less) how I meant it. Sorry if I offended anyone.

I have mentioned before the long-term adjunct at my previous school--teaching as much as he was allowed for $1950 a course, taking in $10-12k a year, no benefits, no savings, living with his mom, in his fifties, and had been doing exactly this for more than ten years. Bitter? Oh my god.

On numerous occasions I'd talk to him, buy him a cup of coffee at the Starbucks, and try to get him to brainstorm alternate careers. Nothing doing.  
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 12:51:35 AM by larryc » Logged

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mouseman
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« Reply #47 on: October 30, 2012, 2:10:34 AM »

I don't see the resentment. It's more like watching the person who keeps dating complete trainwrecks and wondering why that person doesn't adjust the sights to someone who is not a trainwreck.

What an utterly ridiculous analogy.

Nope, it's actually quite apt.  I was in that position - including the part in which you believe that your partner will somehow change, and you view every hint as a harbinger of the coming change.  It didn't help that my position wasn't officially that of an adjunct, but of a supposedly pre-TT position (I had a verbal oblique marriage proposal, with no ring). 

I think that I've written this before.  Being an adjunct is like being in a friends-with-benefits relationship.  If this is what you want, temporarily or permanently, as a full time job, for additional income, etc, you can be happy.  If, however, you are expecting this to progress to a marriage, you're in trouble.  Yes, a relationship between a person who wants a FWB relationship and somebody who wants more is a highly dysfunctional one or, as CFMG puts it "a trainwreck".

In general I have found the romantic relationship to be a fairly good metaphor for academic careers.
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spinnaker
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« Reply #48 on: October 30, 2012, 9:07:21 PM »

In my department I think most of us are fairly aware, and we got the adjuncts a better deal in the last contract (including health insurance for half-time faculty I believe).

At the same time a lot of us look at those people in their fourth or whatever year of underemployment and scraping by and we think, why does this person keep doing it? Sorry if that sounds cold but at some point it is time to refuse to be a party in your exploitation.  

I don't exactly disagree Larry, and I know where you are coming from, but this gets close to resenting the adjunct for simply doing his/her job.
I don't see the resentment. It's more like watching the person who keeps dating complete trainwrecks and wondering why that person doesn't adjust the sights to someone who is not a trainwreck.

We were recently able to unionize. We had the support of every union on campus with the sole exception of the full time faculty union.  In addition to our lives being better, we have the satisfaction of acting to leave the workplace better for our successors.

Of course some are against unions, and I understand they have their reasons.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 9:10:40 PM by spinnaker » Logged

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cgfunmathguy
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« Reply #49 on: October 30, 2012, 9:26:17 PM »

We were recently able to unionize. We had the support of every union on campus with the sole exception of the full time faculty union.  In addition to our lives being better, we have the satisfaction of acting to leave the workplace better for our successors.

Of course some are against unions, and I understand they have their reasons.
Congratulations.
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spinnaker
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« Reply #50 on: October 31, 2012, 9:03:25 PM »

In my department I think most of us are fairly aware, and we got the adjuncts a better deal in the last contract (including health insurance for half-time faculty I believe).

At the same time a lot of us look at those people in their fourth or whatever year of underemployment and scraping by and we think, why does this person keep doing it? Sorry if that sounds cold but at some point it is time to refuse to be a party in your exploitation.  

I don't exactly disagree Larry, and I know where you are coming from, but this gets close to resenting the adjunct for simply doing his/her job.
I don't see the resentment. It's more like watching the person who keeps dating complete trainwrecks and wondering why that person doesn't adjust the sights to someone who is not a trainwreck.

That is (more or less) how I meant it. Sorry if I offended anyone.

I have mentioned before the long-term adjunct at my previous school--teaching as much as he was allowed for $1950 a course, taking in $10-12k a year, no benefits, no savings, living with his mom, in his fifties, and had been doing exactly this for more than ten years. Bitter? Oh my god.

On numerous occasions I'd talk to him, buy him a cup of coffee at the Starbucks, and try to get him to brainstorm alternate careers. Nothing doing.  

What LarryC is doing, so far, is using one example to make a point about what a group is doing.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 9:03:57 PM by spinnaker » Logged

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spinnaker
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« Reply #51 on: October 31, 2012, 10:00:09 PM »

Though, to give credit where it's due, you, Larry, have commented at other times that the system sucks. This is appropriately candid and accurate.
I'm working too hard. I'll just watch the thread and see what follows.
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larryc
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« Reply #52 on: November 02, 2012, 11:31:20 PM »

The system is horrendous and immoral and adjuncts are in no way to blame for the fact. And the only thing that distinguishes the average adjunct from the average TT faculty at most institutions is blind luck of the draw. (That, plus a living wage, benefits and job security...)

At the same time, at some point you need to get out and find something better. Life is full of raw deals, and sometimes you have to take the raw deal, but don't expect it to miraculously improve. Except at a very few institutions, adjuncting is not a sustainable career. Nor is it a path to a TT job. So don't keep doing it any longer than you have to.
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larryc
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« Reply #53 on: November 02, 2012, 11:33:31 PM »

We were recently able to unionize. We had the support of every union on campus with the sole exception of the full time faculty union. 

Congratulations, that is a rare and difficult feat. And the faculty union is disgraceful. What reasons did they give for stabbing you in the back?
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helpful
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« Reply #54 on: November 02, 2012, 11:44:02 PM »

Most of our adjuncts have other jobs, or freelance. They generally don't have phds so are not even eligible to apply for tenure track jobs.  I would say maybe 5 per cent of our adjuncts have phds, and even these people are not looking for a tenure track job as they have other careers. That being said, our adjuncts have a strong union so they get a good salary for each course, and seniority rights. 

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spinnaker
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« Reply #55 on: November 03, 2012, 9:47:19 AM »

We were recently able to unionize. We had the support of every union on campus with the sole exception of the full time faculty union. 

Congratulations, that is a rare and difficult feat. And the faculty union is disgraceful. What reasons did they give for stabbing you in the back?

Publicly supporting us would have been incompatible with language in their contract. Of course, I expect those provisions were written by the institution, not the faculty. Still.

The whole discussion about "you should leave after a few years..." I probably should have. We could also consider though that (and not to have a forum about me, just to give an example) people vary in their idea of living wage or necessity. I had an adjunct friend of mine over years ago. Sometime later he asked me whether it was difficult living in such a small house.  I answered "I don't think of the house as small; it's enough for my wife and I and our child, so I guess not."

It's hard to tell thus far whether the union makes them 'respect' us more. I suspect yes, because we don't want their respect, we want money and some measure of security. It's harder for them to get rid of an adjunct than it was. Therefore, they will think more carefully before hiring, or at least, they ought to. These are positive things for education, I believe.
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janewales
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« Reply #56 on: November 03, 2012, 11:50:08 AM »


I believe I've posted before that our adjuncts are in the same bargaining unit as the permanent faculty (and the librarians). There's a seniority system in place, which means that on the one hand, the jobs of long-term adjuncts are looking more like permanent jobs (full loads at good pay with a right of reappointment, though dependent on soft money), while on the other, newer adjuncts are finding it more and more difficult to pick up work. So, kind of like the tenure-track market.

The part-time model of the adjunct has more or less disappeared at my end of campus (seniority means we have fewer, fully-employed adjuncts, rather than many part-timers), though it's still in place in programs where the adjuncts are professionals employed elsewhere, who are simply offering a single course in their area of professional expertise.
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mickeymantle
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« Reply #57 on: November 04, 2012, 2:23:35 PM »


I fully agree with LarryC about leaving the adjunct situation after a few years, if possible.  My sense is that increasingly colleges will start following the MIT/Harvard model of offering on-line courses in as many areas as possible (without really looking at the costs to educational standards, of course.)  In that instance many full-time faculty members will begin scrambling to take over as many of these courses as possible, leaving no wiggle room for adjuncts.  It's happened to other community colleges besides mine, and I think my institution will be heading that way within the next 3 years, given the overall national decline in enrollment.
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mtaja1960
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« Reply #58 on: February 13, 2013, 9:46:27 AM »


I fully agree with LarryC about leaving the adjunct situation after a few years, if possible.  My sense is that increasingly colleges will start following the MIT/Harvard model of offering on-line courses in as many areas as possible (without really looking at the costs to educational standards, of course.)  In that instance many full-time faculty members will begin scrambling to take over as many of these courses as possible, leaving no wiggle room for adjuncts.  It's happened to other community colleges besides mine, and I think my institution will be heading that way within the next 3 years, given the overall national decline in enrollment.

And here they are, in the comments:

'A better question is: will there be well-educated and well-compensated professionals teaching the courses at all.  Or will the profession be a series of mercenaries bouncing from course to course and from profit to non-profit providers. This competition will drive down compensation, not provide decent incomes for "full time" professionals.'

http://chronicle.com/article/Enough-With-the-Talk-Lets/137213/
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smokie05
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« Reply #59 on: May 14, 2013, 8:08:15 PM »

Always be wary if you are an adjunct and you never have contact with the head of your division. That means the administration does not respect you. They should at least assign a FT professor to working with the adjuncts.
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