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ERIC Number: EJ847217
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun-12
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Adjuncts: Solutions for a Mistreated Majority
Louis, Deborah
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n39 pA72 Jun 2009
According to best estimates, some 800,000 faculty members, close to two-thirds of the total nationwide, are adjunct, "contingent," or "lecturer." The severity of their plight, rapidly worsening in today's economic crisis, intersects the interrelated domains of human rights, fair employment, and the future of higher education. In those areas where neither unionization nor social history presents strategies for significant improvement, adjuncts must rely on the conscience of informed and fair-minded administrators and legislators to act on their behalf. As an adjunct at one of those community colleges seeking to articulate their concerns to salaried faculty members and administrators, the author recently designed and disseminated a comprehensive survey to several hundred adjuncts on her own campus, where they make up what she calculates to be more than 80 percent of the faculty. The survey gathered information on the respondents' sociocultural profiles, how they viewed themselves as educators, and their experiences on the campus. It also included a section that allowed for open-ended elaboration or comments. Despite the limited sample, the results were startlingly consistent with what observers have been saying anecdotally for at least a decade about the status and general character of adjuncts across the country. The survey responses also indicated that the most compelling issues include the need for increased base compensation, benefits, and expense reimbursements; more-flexible absence policies; tuition remission; and equal access to professional-development resources. Administrators, faculty associations, and policy makers should also be aware of concerns that involve state and federal labor standards, like working without contracts and inequitable delays in pay at the start of the academic year. The fact that issues of compensation were front and center of the survey results is certainly no surprise. The standard baseline formula for college instruction is three hours of preparation and follow-up for every hour in the classroom. In this article, the author presents a list of how colleges and state governments could substantially improve the working conditions and performance of adjunct faculty members.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A