The Tragedy, and Promise, of Adjunct Instructors

More and more universities and colleges are employing adjunct instructors in numbers that are troubling for those who are concerned about students, the institutions where they work, and the future of education in the United States. The instructors are poorly paid, have few benefits, constantly hustle from institution to institution, and true to do their best to deliver excellent learning under exceptionally difficult circumstances.

For those interested in this subject, and even for those who don’t, I would like to call your attention to an on-line analysis, “Labor of Love or Cheap Labor? The Plight of Adjunct Professors.” It is available here. I was pointed toward this study by Celine James, one of the authors. My thanks to her for contacting me about it. Check out the report.

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3 Responses to The Tragedy, and Promise, of Adjunct Instructors

  1. kennethpkatz says:

    There is a time and place for adjunct professors. I’m a project manager by profession. I have taught classes in project management for various part-time MBA and similar programs aimed at working adults. Project management is not a scholarly subject, it’s an applied subject and best taught by an active practioner who can relate the course material to actual case studies at work.


  2. Katja says:

    I’m pretty sure Celine James is a spambot. She keeps emailing an organization that I belong to that has nothing to do with education, we keep emailing her that we are not interested, and she keeps emailing us back with links to her alleged article. It is strange and inexplicable.


  3. Curt Day says:

    The use and treatment of adjuncts should not be isolated from other trends in universities across the country. What should be looked for are

    1. Increases in the numbers of administrators as well as their rates of pay increase vs the same for faculty

    2. The number of online classes

    3. the lowering of standards for student admission

    4. The rise in student population

    5. The percentage of investment in academia vs the percentage of investment in services.

    If we looked at all of these factors and included the use and treatment of adjuncts, I believe we will find a bussnessfication of college at the expense of the students’ education and society’s future. And part of our future cost will be the production of citizens who are both unable and unwilling to think critically. In other words, we will have more citizens who are willing to follow orders blindly regardless of how those order affect others.


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