On Adjuncts


eastwestprotester-e1308323930210I was having a conversation with a colleague from a local community college yesterday and she told me that they were lowering the maximum allowed course for adjunct instructors. Given the poor working conditions, job insecurity, and ridiculously low pay that adjuncts get, I found this surprising. Was the school’s administration going to make an already half-starving group of well-educated (Ph.D. most of the time) professionals and cut their lifelines off? It turns out that this wasn’t an idea of her college. It was a measure being considered by the ISD (Independent School District) which administers her community college.

This comes from a lawsuit that a group of adjuncts allegedly threatened on the ISD. These adjuncts argued that although they are only paid for 12 contact hours (four courses) at 2,000$ per course (that’s a whopping 20,000$ a year assuming that instructors teach a full summer), they do just as much outside work (correction, course preparation, etc), if not more, than regular full time faculty. They should, they argued, at least be considered limited full time – that’s full time salary and full time benefits on a semester-by-semester contract.

In response to these highly qualified, highly educated individuals (keep in mind, they have Ph.D.s in different disciplines) demanding a fair wage and fair working conditions, the ISD decided instead to limit the maximum adjunct load to 9 contact hours per semester and 3 contact hours during summer. That would make for a whopping $14,000 a year for an instructor with the maximum load.

Now, this is all hearsay so I won’t mention any names or state the ISD. I will, however, say that it’s somewhere in my home state. Here’s hoping that administrators who are obviously (not) well versed in education or classroom work don’t make living on a job that’s already hard to do even more difficult. My heart goes out to you, my adjunct friends.

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About Quijano

Johansen Quijano is a professor of English in The University of Texas at Arlington, where he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in English. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Development focusing on TESOL, and a Master’s Degree in English Literature. He has published and presented on a variety of topics including video game studies, popular culture studies, education, teaching methodology, language acquisition, romantic poetry, and victorian literature. His research interests include the above-mentioned topics, narrative, interactivity, simulation, new media in general, and 18th century literature. He also enjoys creative writing (fiction, historical fiction, and poetry), and reading all kinds of epic literary works - from the Epic Poem of Gilgamesh to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.

Posted on January 15, 2013, in Education Commentary and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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