If you’re Tweeting today, use the hashtags #CEW2015 and/or #CampusEquityWk. Tweet about your work conditions, about the hypocrisy of selling our students education as a way to get ahead. Tweet your outrage. Tweet solutions. Tweet support for your fellow adjuncts. Tweet information. Here’s a few Tweets to get you started:
- Contingent and Full-Time Faculty are the yin and yang of college. Let’s work together to make a whole education for students. #CEW 2015 (135 characters)
- Contingent and Full-Time Faculty: Two halves of the whole educational experience. Treat & pay us equitably. #CEW 2015 (117 characters)
- Contingent and Full-Time Faculty: allies in giving students the best education we can. Treat & pay us equitably. #CEW2015 (121 characters)
- A Starbucks on campus won’t get students a job; fairly treated faculty will. Pay contingent faculty a living wage. #CEW2015 (123 characters)
- Future and current student success doesn’t depend on a climbing wall or a new gym. It depends on secure, equitably paid faculty. #CEW2015 (137 characters)
- Want creative, innovate, critically thinking students who can communicate clearly? Pay contingent faculty a living wage. #CEW2015 (129 characters)
If you’re not a tweeting type of person, you can also use the day to do a little consciousness raising with your class or your colleagues. If you’re at a loss about what to say, here are some talking points that I and others have used with the media and with students. And here you’ll find the letter I write to my students about being contingent at the beginning of every semester as part of their syllabus. Feel free to copy and adapt it.
Adjunct Conditions Talking Points
- Since 1975, full-time faculty hires have increased only 23% while part- and full-time adjunct hires have increased 286% and 259% respectively. Fewer full-time tenured faculty means faculty overloaded with administrative work and unable to give students the attention they deserve.
- By 2011, part-time adjunct hires comprised 51.4% of faculty. Full-time tenured and tenure track employment has shrunk to represent only 20.6 and 8.6% respectively. Adjunct hires, full & part-time, comprise closer to 75% of faculty in 2014 at both public and private institutions. The drastic increase in part-time faculty means fewer office hours available for student counseling and mentoring relationships.
- Adjunct hires are now teaching approximately 60% of classes and 100% of them at some institutions, where they are also the only faculty. Contingent hiring conditions hinder pedagogical innovation because of time constraints and because adjunct faculty are almost never allowed on curriculum committees.
- Average remuneration for a class is $2700. Paid for only hours in class, not prep, grading, meeting with students, which takes far longer than classtime. Average income is $25,000–about what WalMart workers make at minimum wage. Only covers 8 months of the year. If we cannot pay the most highly educated among us fairly, how can we sell the need for and benefits of education to anyone?
- Most adjuncts have no health, retirement, or other benefits and cannot afford to “retire” from teaching. Ever. The lack of sabbatical time also hinders professional development and research, which hurts students as well, if educators cannot stay current in their fields.
- Part-time adjuncts teach as many as 6-8 classes at multiple institutions to make ends meet. Hours spent on the road could be better spent with students, prep, research.
- Contingency erodes or eliminates academic freedom, professional development, research opportunities. While critics are calling for more public engagement by academics, administrative structure makes it impossible.
- Market forces did not create this situation. It was a deliberate decision by administration to increase the number of graduate degrees offered while decreasing the number of tenure track jobs available. (Ex.: the sharp rise in MFA programs).
- Colleges don’t always spend their money wisely, but cutting back on instructional budget and increasing the number of administrators is a reckless response.
- “If we can afford such a massive increase in professional staff , as well as such an increase in executives whose salaries have been escalating very dramatically [an increase of 141% in full-time executives and 369% in full-time non-faculty professional staff between 1975 and 2011], the sharp decrease in the percentage of all instructional faculty who are tenured or on tenure tracks is a matter of a dramatic shift in priorities—in the conception of the university. Clearly, our colleges and universities are no longer places where the primary focus is on instruction. Instead, they are places where the primary goal is to entrench and to expand administrative bureaucracies.” (“In an Era of Increasing Fiscal Constraints, an Inexplicable Shift in Hiring Patterns in Higher Education” – by Martin Kich April 21, 2014)
Go forth and speak up!