• October 31, 2014
October 31, 2014, 10:41:37 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: Talk about how to cope with chronic illness, disability, and other health issues in the academic workplace.
 
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
  Print  
Author Topic: Adjuncts please remember  (Read 50193 times)
oldadjunct
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,987

LIFO. Enough said.


« on: April 17, 2012, 11:55:33 PM »

We are not "part-time" employees with a reasonable expectation of continuance via inertia.  We, and our institutions, are related on only a course-by-course. semester-by-semester basis.  We are contract workers always selling our wares, 16 weeks at a time, no more no less.

If that works for you, as is does for me, that's fine. But you just have to stop complaining that you weren't "renewed" or "released" unreasonably.  You and I are not in a position to be renewed nor released.  Both terms imply a relationship that does not exist.  Colleges/universities are customers, we are sales people delivering product. If the customer doesn't need the product at a given time, they don't buy the product.  Customers generally don't give you a warm hug when they stop buying what you sell, they just stop buying.

This advice is from a former part-time employee (retail), later corporate consultant (>1k/day), later business owner, and much later  current adjunct.  If your business model is to personally flog your product on a course by course, semester to semester basis it is all wrong, and stop complaining you are being treated badly (you probably are).  But your harsh treatment is the result of selling the wrong product to the wrong people.  I neither know what your real product nor your real customer is, but if you are financially struggling and feel unappreciated and misused then you are in the wrong business.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 11:57:27 PM by oldadjunct » Logged

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan

OMG!  My partner gave me hu!  What do I do to get rid of hu?
categorical
Senior member
****
Posts: 276


« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2012, 8:55:25 AM »

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.

Logged
oldadjunct
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,987

LIFO. Enough said.


« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2012, 8:19:28 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.
Logged

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan

OMG!  My partner gave me hu!  What do I do to get rid of hu?
yz429
New member
*
Posts: 6


« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2012, 10:42:06 PM »

Sharp, true yet a little brutal:)

As you can probably tell, I am new to this adjuncthood and right now I am not sure whether I am a good fit in this "business", in your words. People approach adjuncthood with different reasons and motivations and in my case financial gain is actually the least, I work to keep myself busy. Plus, I LOVE teaching and want more experiences hoping to build into my future career.

From your post you look like a business person with plenty industrial/real world experiences so you bring this perspective into higher education, nothing wrong with that. I am an "academia" (or at least I try to think this way) that I am trained to work in universities doing teaching (and research). I am adjuncting so that I don't have big gaps in my CV, and so that someday I will have enough experience for a full-time job in the ivory tower.

If I understand correctly, you are kindly reminding people to get more detached and biz-is-biz, which I totally understand. This is a problem with no good solution at the moment, such is work and life. I will just learn to be  stronger.

We are not "part-time" employees with a reasonable expectation of continuance via inertia.  We, and our institutions, are related on only a course-by-course. semester-by-semester basis.  We are contract workers always selling our wares, 16 weeks at a time, no more no less.

If that works for you, as is does for me, that's fine. But you just have to stop complaining that you weren't "renewed" or "released" unreasonably.  You and I are not in a position to be renewed nor released.  Both terms imply a relationship that does not exist.  Colleges/universities are customers, we are sales people delivering product. If the customer doesn't need the product at a given time, they don't buy the product.  Customers generally don't give you a warm hug when they stop buying what you sell, they just stop buying.

This advice is from a former part-time employee (retail), later corporate consultant (>1k/day), later business owner, and much later  current adjunct.  If your business model is to personally flog your product on a course by course, semester to semester basis it is all wrong, and stop complaining you are being treated badly (you probably are).  But your harsh treatment is the result of selling the wrong product to the wrong people.  I neither know what your real product nor your real customer is, but if you are financially struggling and feel unappreciated and misused then you are in the wrong business.
Logged
watermarkup
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,040


« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2012, 11:15:32 PM »

So remember, folks, when your department head tells you with a knowing wink that there might be more courses or a glowing recommendation or even a full-time position opening up for you in the future, if only you'll render some wonderful service for which there is most regrettably no compensation--

Run the other way. You have no expectation of renewal, and your department head can't create one. You can only be exploited if you let yourself be exploited.
Logged
oldadjunct
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,987

LIFO. Enough said.


« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2012, 12:06:57 AM »

So remember, folks, when your department head tells you with a knowing wink that there might be more courses or a glowing recommendation or even a full-time position opening up for you in the future, if only you'll render some wonderful service for which there is most regrettably no compensation--

Run the other way. You have no expectation of renewal, and your department head can't create one. You can only be exploited if you let yourself be exploited.

Yep. except for the exploited part.  If you are getting paid for what you do, and you like what you do, keep on doin whatcha your doin. You are not exploited unless you pretend adjuncting will lead some place, it won''t; or, that you have a "relationship" with a department, you don't.

Don't do anything you are not paid for, and never look beyond the next   current semester.  If that works  for you go for it; if not get out and stop whining, because it's not gonna change, lamentable as it maybe.
Logged

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan

OMG!  My partner gave me hu!  What do I do to get rid of hu?
spinnaker
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,902


« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2012, 8:23:28 AM »

I think that while it's usually useless to complain, it is a good thing to tell the public what's going on. Especially because certain people don't want you to.

"Exploit" in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary is defined only by the behavior of one party, not the predictions or frame of mind of the people with whom they are having a transaction.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 8:24:35 AM by spinnaker » Logged

"I never agree with Spinnaker, but..."
palla
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,041


« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2012, 9:21:39 AM »

I don't understand the use of "exploit" with adjuncts.  If you are an adjunct, you are on a semester contract.  At the end of the semester, you are free to leave and the school is free to not hire you again.  That is clear in the contract, isn't it?  So how is the school exploiting the adjunct?

Yes, it sucks to believe you have a job for the next semester and not have one.  It is very difficult to find a FT job, especially right now. It is miserable to prepare for a course and have it taken away at the last minute (and personally, I think you should get some compensation for the prep work, but you won't).  But that is all part of the gig; it is a temporary assignment.  And, yes, it is a temporary gig that has benefits for the school.

By the same token, adjuncts are frequently advised that they can give late notice when they can't teach a course because something better came along.  Adjuncts are free to skip meetings, avoid committees, and turn off email between semesters.  So there are benefits for the adjuncts as well.

Yes, I am sympathetic to the adjunct's situation, but I don't think "exploit" is the right word.  Unless you apply the word to pretty much every employee.  Because technically, companies hire people to take advantage of their skills, knowledge, and talent to move the company forward.  And many, if not most, people would say they were not paid fairly for their work.
Logged
kaysixteen
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 7,750


« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2012, 10:02:21 AM »

Adjuncts are exploited because:

1) they are paid starvation wages, even as uni tuitions continue to skyrocket
2) schools continue to convert ft tt lines into multiple adjunct positions, in order to continue to exploit them

Also, the issue of adjunct exploitation does not also include the issues of how adjuncts are treated whilst on the job, which is often very poor and subprofessional, and the bill of goods grad schools continue to sell to unsuspecting undergrads, allowing them to believe that a tt job is in the offing for them if they finish a PhD, when for most fields and most new PhDs it is not.
Logged
canadatourismguy
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,263


« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2012, 10:35:08 AM »

I learned a very valuable lesson early in my professional life and it is this, "It does not exist until the ink is dry on the page."  It is not personal, it is just business.

Logged

On preview:  Candadiantourismguy is a subversive of the first order.
lawilson
New member
*
Posts: 11


« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2012, 10:37:36 AM »

Adjuncts are exploited because:

1) they are paid starvation wages, even as uni tuitions continue to skyrocket
2) schools continue to convert ft tt lines into multiple adjunct positions, in order to continue to exploit them

Also, the issue of adjunct exploitation does not also include the issues of how adjuncts are treated whilst on the job, which is often very poor and subprofessional, and the bill of goods grad schools continue to sell to unsuspecting undergrads, allowing them to believe that a tt job is in the offing for them if they finish a PhD, when for most fields and most new PhDs it is not.

Kaysixteen, don't forget to add to this list the absence of any health insurance opportunities.
Logged
slinger
Quite Un-
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,848


« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2012, 10:39:02 AM »

Adjuncts are exploited because:

1) they are paid starvation wages, even as uni tuitions continue to skyrocket
2) schools continue to convert ft tt lines into multiple adjunct positions, in order to continue to exploit them

Also, the issue of adjunct exploitation does not also include the issues of how adjuncts are treated whilst on the job, which is often very poor and subprofessional, and the bill of goods grad schools continue to sell to unsuspecting undergrads, allowing them to believe that a tt job is in the offing for them if they finish a PhD, when for most fields and most new PhDs it is not.

They We are NOT "exploited." Adjucting is OPTIONAL.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 10:39:36 AM by slinger » Logged

Several threads on the fora could be solved by just Being A Damn Grownup.
That is it, Slinger, you're banned!
spinnaker
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,902


« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2012, 10:54:15 AM »


Yes, I am sympathetic to the adjunct's situation, but I don't think "exploit" is the right word.  Unless you apply the word to pretty much every employee.  Because technically, companies hire people to take advantage of their skills, knowledge, and talent to move the company forward.  And many, if not most, people would say they were not paid fairly for their work.

Or for the material gain of the managers.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 10:55:59 AM by spinnaker » Logged

"I never agree with Spinnaker, but..."
proftowanda
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,946

"Righter of wrongs, queen beyond compare."


« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2012, 11:11:40 AM »

Adjuncts are exploited because:

1) they are paid starvation wages, even as uni tuitions continue to skyrocket
2) schools continue to convert ft tt lines into multiple adjunct positions, in order to continue to exploit them

Also, the issue of adjunct exploitation does not also include the issues of how adjuncts are treated whilst on the job, which is often very poor and subprofessional, and the bill of goods grad schools continue to sell to unsuspecting undergrads, allowing them to believe that a tt job is in the offing for them if they finish a PhD, when for most fields and most new PhDs it is not.

Kaysixteen, don't forget to add to this list the absence of any health insurance opportunities.

Any?  Not so.  Many campuses have health insurance for adjuncts.  At mine, the campus contribution is the same for half-time adjuncts as it is for full-time employees.  (And the opportunity is there, at a larger contribution on the adjunct's part, for those who teach less than half-time.)

How many other employers offer that to their temps?

That is what an adjunct is:  A temp.  Once I faced that, I decided to make a different opportunity for myself and my family. 
Logged

"Face it, girls.  I'm older, and I have more insurance."     -- Towanda!
archman
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,458


« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2012, 12:35:12 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.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.