Sunday, December 14, 2014

Research Blog #10


            In this paper an investigation into adjunct instructors is done. It is told who adjuncts are, how many there are, where they work, and how they are treated. A deeper look into adjuncts at Rutgers University is also a main component of this paper, and an interview with someone who works with the adjuncts here was conducted. Her insightful answers to the various questions served as some great knowledge into the adjunct instructors at Rutgers University. Also, the horrible treatment of these adjuncts concerning compensation is shown through a story of a life-long adjunct that suffered tremendously because of these horrible conditions.

Works Cited
Andersen, L.V. “What Really Happened to Margaret Mary Vojtko, the Duqesne Adjunct             Whose Death Became a Rallying Cry?” Slate Magazine. N.p., 17 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2014.
Caruth, Gail. “Adjunct Faculty: Who are these Unsung Heroes of Academe?” Current       Issues in Education. 16.3 (2013): 1-11. 15 Nov. 2013. Print.
Curs, B.R., B. Bhandari, and C. Steiger. “The Roles of Public Higher Education      Expenditure And The Privatization Of The Higher Education On U.S. States Economic Growth.” Journal Of Education Finance 36.4 (2011): 424-441. Scopus. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.
Ehrenberg, Ronald G. “THE PERFECT STORM And The Privatization Of Public Higher            Education.” Change 38.1 (2006): 46-53. Academic Search Premier. Web. 21 Oct.            2014.
Heyboer, Kelly. “Higher Education’s Dirty Little Secret.” Inside New Jersey. 1 Nov.         2014: 20-23, 86. Print.
Kendzior, Sarah. “Professors Making $10,000 a Year? Academia Is Becoming a     Profession Only the Elite Can Afford.” Alternet. 10 Nov. 2014. Web. 17 Nov.    2014.
Kingkade, Tyler. “9 Reasons Why Being An Adjunct Faculty Member Is Terrible.” The   Huffington Post., 11 Nov. 2013. Web. 16 Nov. 2014
Lannan, Katie. “Union County College Adjuncts Petition School for ‘living Wage’ as         Contract Is Negotiated.” 10 Nov. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.
McCarthy, Colman. “Adjunct Professors Fight for Crumbs on Campus.” Washington       Post. The Washington Post, 1 Aug. 2014. Web. 9 Nov. 2014.
Mills, Nicolaus. “The Corporatization of Higher Education.” Dissent Magazine A Quarterly of Politics and Culture. Dissent Magazine, n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2014
“Rutgers Professor: School Not Prioritizing Instructional Resources.” NJTV News.           Public Media New Jersey. NJTV News. 4 Nov. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.     
Smith, S.E. “The Disposable Professor Crisis.” Saloncom RSS. Salon Media Group, 4       Apr. 2012. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.         
Takahasi, Paul. “Why so Many Higher-ed Professors Make so Little.” Las Vegas    Las Vegas Sun, 15 June 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.
Thompson, Karen. Personal Interview. 3 December 2014

Literature Review Blog #5

(2) Kendzior, Sarah. “Professors Making $10,000 a Year? Academia Is Becoming a Profession Only the Elite Can Afford.” Alternet. 10 Nov. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

(3) This article is all about how little money an adjunct professor actually makes. Also, it further goes into how today college degrees really aren't worth as much as they were years back.

(4) Sarah Kendzior is the author of this article. She is a writer, researcher, and a critic. She is a columnist for Al Jazeera English and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

(5) "My friend is an  adjunct. She has a PhD in anthropology and teaches at a university, where she is paid $2100 per course. While she is a professor, she is not a Professor. She is, like  67 per cent of American university faculty, a part-time employee on a contract that may or may not be renewed each semester. She receives no benefits or health care"(Kendzior pg. 1)

"In most professions, salaries below the poverty line would be cause for alarm. In academia, they are treated as a source of gratitude. Volunteerism is par for the course - literally. Teaching is touted as a "calling", with compensation an afterthought. One American research university offers its PhD students a salary of $1000 per semester for the "opportunity" to design and teach a course for undergraduates, who are each paying about $50,000 in tuition." (Kendzior pg. 1)

(6) This material in the article really reinforced that these adjunct professors are being treated horribly in terms of compensation. It opened a new door for my paper, and I had a new topic to do research on.

Research Blog #8: Interview

I did an interview with Karen Thompson.

1. Who are the adjuncts at Rutgers University?? (are they recent grads, life long adjuncts)

Adjuncts (or part-time lecturers, PTLs, as they are called at Rutgers) are a diverse group, as are full-time faculty.  Many, but not all, have PhDs and look forward to an academic profession.  Some are new to teaching and still believe that the adjunct position will lead to a full-time position.  Others have full-time work elsewhere and add part-time adjunct teaching to their lives for the extra money or for the thrill.  For instance, I have a full-time position at the faculty union (Rutgers AAUP-AFT) in addition to my teaching but this was not always the case.  I have taught part-time at Rutgers since 1979 and in the past I was looking for a full-time position.  Many adjuncts / PTLs teach at multiple institutions in order to piece together a living.  This group is large and makes the low pay particularly egregious.

2. Why do they do it?

As I noted in 1., some adjuncts / PTLs teach to supplement their full-time salaries elsewhere and others cobble together several positions for a living.  Most adjuncts / PTLs accept what appear to be unrewarded positions because they LOVE teaching.  I often point out that this attitude leads them to “volunteer,” teaching for such little compensation that part of the reward is just being able to teach (at a large research institution like Rutgers.)

3. A lot of my research shows how low the wages actually can be, but these adjuncts still remain loyal to this profession.  Why doesn't someone break the cycle and leave for a better paying job?

Some adjuncts / PTLs do leave for greener pastures – out of desperation for more reasonable pay, but you’re right that an unbelievable number stay despite the low pay and no benefits because they love teaching, they enjoy “passing” as a professor, and they are still deluded in believing they have a foot in the door, a path to a full-time position, which they don’t.

4. Why are the administration positions getting paid such high compensation, while the pay for adjuncts is on the decline?  And why are the salaries so low for these adjunct positions?

Administrators are highly paid because they set their own salaries, and adjuncts / PTLs receive little compensation because administrators also get to set their pay and do not value them or their work.  In general, teaching is not valued at the university, whether delivered by adjuncts / PTLs, teachings assistants, or tenure track faculty.  Administrators are up front in saying they like to pay adjuncts / PTLs as little as the market will bear, an indication of their devaluing instruction.  Another reason adjuncts / PTLs are paid so little is that the administration gets away with it – if more adjuncts / PTLs would refuse to teach without further compensation, salaries would be higher.  In fact, salaries are higher in certain disciplines, like business and law, because the relevant professionals will not teach for a pittance.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Research Blog #7: Your Case

My main case or example that I am going to identify in my paper is a story about an adjunct professor who taught in Pittsburgh.  Sadly she passed away in September 2013, and then her story sprung up all over the world.  She was a non-tenure-track employee for 25 years, making only $10,000 a year, and received no health insurance.  Once people heard of this the story really struck a nerve with many people because of the negative treatment of adjunct professors around compensation.  Many colleges and universities are hiring more and more adjunct professors and paying them a fraction of a tenure-track employee.  Some of these non-tenure-track faculty even have to live off of food stamps and sleep in homeless shelters.

Research Blog #6: Visual

This is an image I found on the internet that shows some data regarding adjunct professors.  It is directly related to my paper because my topic has to do totally with the harsh realities of being an adjunct or non-tenure-track professor at a university.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Research Blog #4: Research Proposal

Working Title: Adjuncts: No pay, No Safety, No Life

Topic: My research will be focused around the fact that universities are leaning towards more adjunct professors.  I will dive into the treatment of these adjuncts in areas like pay, livelihood, and job safety.  I will further explain in this paper that adjuncts really make no money, have no job safety, and that a great percentage of them live terrible lives because of this.  Some of the questions that I will look into answers for will be why is the pay so bad for these professors even when they have many degrees that make them more than qualified for the position?  Why is it so difficult for these professors to obtain tenure?  Why is that if they are forced into poverty that they still continue to teach in these conditions?  If tuition is so high across the board at all universities why are these schools still focusing on adjunct professors with low wages?

There are many stories of professors who are homeless, live with their parents, or on food stamps.  This is a big problem for me because so many colleges are still pushing for more and more non-tenure-track professors so they can keep the salaries down.  Some of these professors do not even get healthcare benefits and accumulate high medical bills, with no money to pay them.  The main angle I want to research is why their pay is so low, and what this is doing to them and the higher educational system.

Literature Review Blog #4

(2) Takahasi, Paul. "Why so Many High-ed Professors Make so Little." Las Vegas Las Vegas Sun, 15 June 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2014. <>.

(3) This article is all about Professor Donati who teaches English composition and world literature at UNLV to undergraduate students.  Even though he holds a masters and a doctorate in his field he still doesn't get paid very much at all.  He states that he works about 30 hours per week doing various tasks for his classes but only receives $24,456 a year.  The article states that this is about $10,000 less than the starting salary of a K-12 teacher in the public school system there.  Furthermore, the article explains that the tenure process is very difficult and competitive which usually results in a lot of applications for one tenured position.

(4) The author of this article is Paul Takahasi, and he is a education reporter at the Las Vegas Sun. 

(5) tenure: teacher or college professor's contractual right not to have his or her position terminated without just cause.

non-tenure-track faculty: those who teach part-time and those who teach full-time but are not on tenure-track lines.

(6) "At a growing number of universities nationally, adjunct professors like Donati have become the face of higher education, as colleges increasingly rely on part-time, non-tenure-track faculty for cheap and abundant labor.  Last year, nearly 4 out of every 10 professors at UNLV were adjuncts.  Nationally, adjuncts constitute a little more than three-quarters of higher education faculty."

"The tenure process is incredibly competitive," Donati said, pointing to a recent tenure-track position that netted more than 400 applicants.  "You have to be brilliant to land a tenured position these days."

"Because of their low pay, many adjuncts at UNLV hold other part-time jobs to make ends meet.  Some live with their parents.  Nationally, there have been high-profile cases of adjunct professors living on food stamps."

(7) This information directly links to my topic of horrible pay for adjunct professors, and how there has been a huge push at universities for adjunct professors.  The article shows how little they really do make, and the harsh reality that some are living on food stamps.