A former academic and current freelancer who edits, proofreads, consults, and advocates. A quiet retirement in Sussex with my bees this is not.
I’m using this site as a clearing-house for my past, present, and future work, as well as a portal to others’ work. Like me, the site will keep getting better with age.
3 thoughts on “Changes”
Hi. I just read your post on PBS Making Sense about the [ab]use of adjuncts to teach increasingly high percentages of undergrad classes. As a nearly 30 year faculty member at numerous Research 1 universities (as an MA adjunct, as a tenure track faculty member of a small liberal arts college, as a PhD grad student, and then for 18 years as tenure-track and now full prof), I have three issues I’d like you to consider: 1. Nearly 30 years ago places like UNC-Chapel Hill used adjuncts to inject professional expertise into the curriculum. That very different, focused, and highly additive use of adjuncts has nothing to do with what’s going on now. I was one, and now I advocate for the adjuncts at my university. 2. Clinical faculty, those with semi-permanent jobs with lower research expectations, fare only slightly better than adjuncts and, similarly, carry a very heavy teaching load. 3. PhD students are [ab]used in labs and across the campus in ways that resemble Scrooge’s counting house more than a place of higher learning. I have long felt wage and hour laws are routinely violated in PhD contracts.
Overall, I think your focus on adjuncts is admirable and important, but I also believe it could be contextualized within an entire and pervasive system of gross injustice and inequality that now is exacerbated by the enormous expansion and grossly inflated wages of upper administration.
As a privileged and wealthy full professor, I will not complain. But this is not my mother’s university. Even in the humanities, we are pushed pushed PUSHED to get grants that pay out paltry amounts to less than 5% of applicants. Who has time or energy for students? That’s what the system says. But many of us only remain because we love teaching and love our students, and it remains one of the few jobs that shifts radically every 6 months and is (primarily) about the life of the mind. Thank you for your work. Contact me freely.
Thank you for your comment, Susan. In my previous Making Sense piece (more directly about our petition to the Labor Dept.) I discussed the original model of adjuncts (working professionals sharing their expertise & experience), while also noting that the ‘new’ model is very much the reverse of that.
Since my background and experiences were in English & Writing departments, I don’t know as much (directly) about PhD students and TAs in the sciences. I’d love to hear from more of them–perhaps for a future Making Sense piece.
Many thanks for your support & attention.
Great blog. Bri told me about you! I really like my two classes a week assignment at my current workplace and I want to remain a part time adjunct, if feasible to find a second nonteaching job that works around it. I don’t have any desire to teach full time and/or become a full time administrator in my discipline. However, I want to start developing tech and computing skills because I love logic, computing and problem solving and on a practical note, another career path will increase my earning potential so I could better support myself and hopefully a family in the future.