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News: Talk online about your experiences as an adjunct, visiting assistant professor, postdoc, or other contract faculty member.
 
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Author Topic: Adjuncts please remember  (Read 50194 times)
spinnaker
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« Reply #60 on: April 26, 2012, 9:24:29 PM »

Believe it or not, there are actually lots of different kids of people adjuncting, who do it for lots of different reasons.  Comparing it to freelancing is a very good example of how an adjunct should approach their work.  It's temporary, it's supposed to be temporary. Any adjunct who thinks otherwise, even just a teeny, tiny bit, does not understand the system. Assuming that every adjunct is tripping over themselves and each other desperately trying to land a TT position is way off from reality. This whiny behavior, by the way, makes the rest of us look bad. That is, the ones you're hurting the most (other than yourselves) are the reasonable, happy adjuncts who willingly accept the consequences of their choice.

Good points! This tendency to use the term "adjunct" or "non-tenure track" as a pejorative not only over simplifies a complex phenomena, it does a great disservice to those who understand the nature of the job and consider it one of the greatest gigs around. There are adjuncts and non-TT types who don't want the pressure and politics of the TT track and there are adjuncts and non-TT types that look on the TT as the holy grail. There are unis who treat adjuncts and non-TT types very well and there are unis who don't. I suspect it is the latter that provide educational experiences that rank in the bottom half of higher ed.

And the people who are trying to bring marked improvement to these situations in the form of better compensation, work conditions, job security, which should favorably affect the students' experience would be known as (pick any or all):
Whiny-butts
organizers
advocates
scholars
people who don't understand the job
« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 9:25:46 PM by spinnaker » Logged

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polly_mer
practice makes perfect
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Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #61 on: April 26, 2012, 10:02:27 PM »

dreamers who are tilting at windmills because they failed Econ 101.
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jeff_t
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« Reply #62 on: August 01, 2012, 8:04:18 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?

I can back this up with my own life experience.  While I was finishing up my MA, I desperately wanted to get my PhD.  I applied and was accepted into several programs, but the more I thought about it, getting a PhD did not make sense for a lot of reasons, the two most important among them:

1)  First and foremost, I researched the job market in my academic field and realized how utterly over-saturated it is with PhDs.  Unis are pumping out PhDs like crazy and I was honest enough with myself to recognize that my GRE scores were not going to get me into a program that would have maximized my potential for a TT job.

2)  I did not want to go tens of thousands (or more) into debt only to graduate and have to take several adjunct positions on account of the TT job market.  Even assuming that I was lucky enough to get a TT track position, the pay at an institution that is primarily oriented towards teaching wouldn't be anywhere near enough to justify the amount of debt I would have incurred.

Instead, I parlayed the knowledge and skills I gained in grad school into a good position in government with the knowledge that I can always teach on the side.  While I don't LOVE my non-teaching day job, it was a much better decision for me in the long run than getting a PhD and gambling on the TT market.

The bottomline is that people usually find themselves in their current situation because of choices they make and continue to make.  People in adjunct hell might have made a bad choice in getting a PhD years ago and might be making a bad choice in staying in adjunct land.  While not the inspiring thing to say, sometimes the best decision is to give up on the ideal dream job (in this case, the TT track) and find one that pays the bills and offers benefits.

But slinger is dead right when he/she says that there is always a choice.  No one is exploiting anyone who chooses to stay in a situation when there are better options available, even if it's outside the field that you thought you would work in.
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spinnaker
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Posts: 1,902


« Reply #63 on: August 03, 2012, 8:39:59 AM »

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?

Are you saying the things you must master to earn an college degree can be compiled by calculating the number of people who can be expected to be capable of succeeding at it? How would that work?
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southerntransplant
A man on a porcupine fence and a
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Posts: 11,106

No recess.


« Reply #64 on: August 03, 2012, 8:50:15 AM »

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?

Are you saying the things you must master to earn an college degree can be compiled by calculating the number of people who can be expected to be capable of succeeding at it? How would that work?

It wouldn't (not the way you put it) but that's not what Slinger is saying. At all. It would be a triumph of state planning to successfully determine the number of academics needed and then graduate exactly that many (as you state), but it couldn't happen.

Better control of incoming graduate student populations  and tougher graduation standards would offer some reduction to the oversupply.
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spinnaker
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,902


« Reply #65 on: August 04, 2012, 1:28:10 AM »

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?

Are you saying the things you must master to earn an college degree can be compiled by calculating the number of people who can be expected to be capable of succeeding at it? How would that work?

It wouldn't (not the way you put it) but that's not what Slinger is saying. At all. It would be a triumph of state planning to successfully determine the number of academics needed and then graduate exactly that many (as you state), but it couldn't happen.

Better control of incoming graduate student populations  and tougher graduation standards would offer some reduction to the oversupply.

But to do this to the degree that it has the desired effect on the job market would be to do it more than would be justified educationally, perhaps.
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spinnaker
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,902


« Reply #66 on: August 05, 2012, 6:09:48 PM »


The bottomline is that people usually find themselves in their current situation because of choices they make and continue to make.  People in adjunct hell might have made a bad choice in getting a PhD years ago and might be making a bad choice in staying in adjunct land.  While not the inspiring thing to say, sometimes the best decision is to give up on the ideal dream job (in this case, the TT track) and find one that pays the bills and offers benefits.


This might be interesting: only 27% of adjuncts had a PhD in 2005: Reclaiming The Ivory Tower by Joe Berry
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