“National Adjunct Walkout Day, for Feb. 25, immediately gained support, and adjuncts continue to use social media and other means of communication to plan what the protest will look like on their campuses. Some tenure-line faculty members also have begun to pledge support, and Canadian adjuncts recently signed on, as well.
“At the same time, some unions have advised members not to participate due to no-strike clauses in contracts or state laws that prohibit striking among public employees. Others object philosophically to the idea and have proposed alternative methods of highlighting concerns about their conditions of employment. And some adjuncts worry about being the only one on their campus to participate, or not participate…
“Adjuncts elsewhere have proposed teach-ins, meaning they won’t walk out but will use the day to talk to their students about adjunct faculty concerns, such as relatively low pay, little institutional support, and the impact of their teaching conditions on student success…”
“National Adjunct Walkout Day was proposed in October by an adjunct professor of writing at San Jose State University who wants to remain anonymous, citing concerns about job security and a desire for the protest not to have a designated leader…”
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“…Adjunct professors' troubling working conditions—some qualify for food stamps, and most don't get health-insurance benefits—have led some to label them ‘the hyper-educated poor.’ In response to their treatment, adjunct professors on a growing number of campuses have voted to unionize.
“Colman McCarthy, an adjunct professor and former Washington Post columnist wrote an op-ed last year laying out the financial prospects of part-time professors, who, he wrote, ‘slog like migrant workers from campus to campus.’ McCarthy estimated that teaching eight courses per year—four in the fall and four in the spring—at a median wage would earn an adjunct $21,600…
“The percentage of academics who work part-time has grown in recent decades. A 2009 survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Education indicated that 75.5 percent of instructors at institutions granting two- or four-year degrees held contingent jobs and/or were not on the track to tenure.
“According to a recent article in Elle, the reverse was true 20 or 30 years ago, when 75 percent of professors held tenured or tenure-track positions. In the past, adjunct professorship could be thought of as the way dues were paid before attaining tenure, but these days many adjuncts who have worked for years or even decades cannot realistically expect to attain full-time professorship.
“Health-care benefits have also become a flashpoint among adjuncts since Obamacare was enacted. Many universities are struggling to maintain the status quo under the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that employers must offer health insurance to anyone working 30 hours or more per week—a requirement that some universities have responded to by reducing adjunct faculty hours.
“Miranda Merklein, a former adjunct professor and now a part-time employee of the nonprofit New Faculty Majority, says she saw this happen firsthand. ‘One of my schools, in line with predatory colleges across the country, cut our teaching hours to deny adjuncts—the bulk of their teaching force—health insurance under the Affordable Care Act,’ she said...
“According to Alan Trevithick, a professor at three colleges and an activist, universities got used to paying for cheap labor and putting their money elsewhere. High-profile spending has turned into a higher-education arms race, with universities pouring money into buildings, technology, academic star power, and administrative costs. Trevithick stressed that he believes this is the most relevant point of all—that universities aren’t paying fair wages to adjuncts because they don’t want to, not because they can’t…”
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“Memories of the university as a citadel of democratic learning have been replaced by a university eager to define itself largely as an adjunct of corporate power. Civic freedom has been reduced to the notion of consumption, education has been reduced to a form of training, and agency has been narrowed to the consumer logic of choice legitimated by a narrow belief in defining one's goals almost entirely around self-interests rather than shared responsibilities of democratic sociability…” (Henry A. Giroux, Higher Education and the New Brutalism).
“We are the stoop laborers of higher education: adjunct professors. As colleges and universities rev for the fall semester, the stony exploitation of the adjunct faculty continues, providing cheap labor for America’s campuses, from small community colleges to knowledge factories with 40,000 students” (Colman McCarthy, Adjunct professors fight for crumbs on campus).
University and College Adjunct Faculty Remuneration per Course in Illinois:
Columbia College: $1,400 - $6,360 per course
Elgin Community College: $2,118 - $3,360 per course
Illinois Wesleyan University: $3,000 per course
North Central College: $780 - $2,460 per course
Northwestern University: $3,000 - $8,586 per course
University of Chicago: $3,500 - $5,000 per course