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Faculty Pay

I am an adjunct (part-time) instructor. As such, I receive drastically less pay than full-time faculty members, and I receive zero benefits. ...
In the past year, for example, I have taught 14 college courses for various institutions (equating to far more than 40 hours per week), and my total income barely touched $30,000, with zero benefits. By comparison, full-time instructors at various institutions typically teach eight to 10 courses per year, with starting salaries in the $50,000-$60,000 range or much higher, depending on the institution.
- An Adjunct’s Farewell, by David J. McCowin, http://chronicle.com/blogs/conversation/2015/05/12/an-adjuncts-farewell/


In American academia there are two tiers of employment. The first consists of professors on the tenure track or already tenured. Once they’ve proved themselves as teachers and researchers, their jobs are secure. The second tier is everyone else: lecturers who might be hired full time for a semester, but with no promise of continued employment; graduate teaching assistants; post-docs who work in labs; and instructors brought on part time to teach a class or two.

The second tier — the adjunct tier — has been growing. In 1975, it made up 55 percent of the academic work force. Today it’s 70 percent.

The pay isn’t good. Although there’s considerable variation depending on the nature of the appointment, on average adjunct instructors receive only $1,000 for every course credit they teach. Most college courses are three or four credits, and full-time teaching loads pretty much max out at five classes a semester (at community colleges). ...

Social scientists have found that when aspiring intellectuals face highly restricted employment opportunities, they often take refuge in extreme politics. In a 1996 study, the sociologist Jerome Karabel sought to identify the circumstances under which intellectuals, from would-be academics to writers and artists, embrace or rebel against the status quo. “Especially conducive to the growth of political radicalism,” he wrote, “are societies in which the higher levels of the educational system produce far more graduates than can be absorbed by the marketplace.”

Frustrated that their long investments in education and cultural cultivation haven’t paid off, intellectuals in such societies train their anger — and ideas — at the economic and political systems (and social groups) they hold responsible. Professor Karabel cited the example of Germany in the 1930s, when a slow-moving academic labor market increased the appeal of Nazism for a surprising number of underemployed intellectuals.
- NEIL GROSS, Professors Behaving Badly, NYT, SEPT. 30, 2017


Private institutions also recognize the allure of part-time professors: generally they are cheaper than full-time staff, don’t receive benefits or support for their personal research, and their hours can be carefully limited so they do not teach enough to qualify for health insurance. ...
The struggle to stay in housing can take many forms, and a second job is one way adjuncts seek to buoy their finances. The professor who turned to sex work said it helps her keep her toehold in the rental market. ...
Homelessness is a genuine prospect for adjuncts. When Ellen Tara James-Penney finishes work, teaching English composition and critical thinking at San Jose State University in Silicon Valley, her husband, Jim, picks her up. They have dinner and drive to a local church, where Jim pitches a tent by the car and sleeps there with one of their rescue dogs. In the car, James-Penney puts the car seats down and sleeps with another dog.
- Alastair Gee, Facing poverty, academics turn to sex work and sleeping in cars, The Guardian, Sept. 28, 2017


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