A few weeks ago, I read something that made me think of this topic. I'm sorry I didn't save the link, but someone stated, "If we were lawyers, we would get paid for billable hours." This got me to thinking, what if we as education professionals, started billing for the work we did as accountants, lawyers, or even "trainers" (who ARE educators, by the way, even though there are some who continue to make the division) do? What if our contracts were to deliver a service, but we could charge more for larger classes (training contract put a cap on maximum class size), tailoring classes or classes we have not taught before (so prep), office hours, administrative work such as inputting grades, writing recommendations or calculating midterm grades for students who need them or verification of progress, making copies of course material, grading student work (which means all of the innovative new ways of teaching requiring more advanced means of assessment or faculty teaching writing courses would get paid more because of the required extra hours) or research in which the school's name is used in a journal or conference (this is part of school image after all).
So, the problem as I see it is two fold: 1) Adjuncts/contingents don't get paid for all that they do; and 2) most people (except for adjuncts and some department heads & faculty) are unaware of all the work an average adjunct does and does not get paid for.
Over the last week or so I've collected some blog posts and reports about the work situation for adjuncts which are finally coming to light. However, there is still little information and actual data on adjuncts. So my adjunctchat (Tuesday, April 1 at 4PM Eastern Standard Time) will look at the information gap about adjuncts and how we can address that.
Some of the questions I'd like to discuss include:
1) How are adjuncts/contingents/teaching assistants identified and used in higher education? Are there differences in unionized/non-unionized, public/private institutions, community colleges/colleges/research universities, or regions/countries?
2) What are the requirements and hiring practices for adjuncts? How is this different from Tenure Track? How is this different from other part time employees? How is this different from contract professionals?
3) How can we make hiring and the work adjuncts do more transparent? How can be begin to publicize the real adjunct work (rather than the public image of an adjunct some experience in the class-but not necessarily an academic degree- popping into to class to lecture 1-3 times a week and giving the class 2 pre-developed standard tests created by the publisher or a tenure track professor, which is graded by machine)?
4) How much time per class per semester do you contribute to class, service, and research? How can we gather this information so it is not just a self reported guestimate but is methodically collected (I'm thinking there's got to be an app out there)?
I hope you can make this. It would also help if we could begin to get some additional participants outside of the US and Canada as I think other countries are beginning to be pressured to accept this adjunct/contingent" model which has creeped into the US and is beginning to move into the Canadian system. If we have data, academics around the world can begin to push back so there is a more equitable system of pay and work.
Congressional Report: The just in time professor
Portrait of part-time faculty by CAW
CUPA-HR Professionals in Higher Education Salary Survey
Adjunctaction Town Meeting
Chronical's Vitae Adjunct stats
Columbia Professors fired after yrs as contingents
UK policy makers getting more data from private sector rather than unis
In case people buy that this is a new problem, read this article from 1995
Please tweet me or add in the comment section any other resources you might have.
- V Yonkers
- Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.