Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Adjunct Professor “lived a life of near destitution”

“A philosophy professor who died earlier this year was making so little money at age 61 he lived in a room in a dilapidated boardinghouse. The story of Dave Heller is focusing attention on the plight of the temp college teacher. When visitors walked into the dilapidated boardinghouse where Dave Heller lived, the smell alone could transport them back to their college days.

“‘It smelled like a grad student,’ jokes Charlie Fischer, a friend. ‘Like years of boiled noodles and rice.’ Except Heller was 61 years old and a philosophy instructor at Seattle University. Yet he lived in a room in a tenant group house in Seattle’s U District, with nothing but a bed, a fridge and his library of 3,000 books.

“When he died earlier this year from an untreated thyroid condition, Heller was making only $18,000 a year teaching philosophy on a part-time, adjunct basis, his friends say. That’s about one-third the median income for a single person in Seattle and barely above the federal poverty line…

“Heller was described as being part of the nation’s ‘invisible faculty’ — part-time or adjunct professors who increasingly do the teaching work at colleges but who often are paid little better than the cleaning help…

“But because he was a contract or ‘contingent’ teacher, he was hired only on a temporary basis and usually for only two classes at a time… Heller nevertheless logged 60-plus hours a week lecturing, meeting with students and grading papers during the term. That means his wage penciled out to somewhere around $10 an hour… an indictment of the system that it almost came to that.”


  1. University and College Adjunct Faculty Remuneration per Course in Illinois:

    Medians compared (2014)
    All Illinois: $2,700
    All 4-year private not-for-profit: $3,000

    Pay is based on three-credit courses.
    A Sample:

    Augustana College: $4,500 per course
    Aurora University: $2,400 - $4,000 per course
    Benedictine University: $2,250 - $2,750 per course
    College of DuPage: $2,440 - $4,880 per course
    Columbia College: $1,400 - $6,360 per course

    DePaul University: $3,000 - $6,000 per course
    Dominican University: $2,300 - $3,200 per course
    Eastern Illinois University: $3,000 - $7,667 per course
    Elgin Community College: $2,118 - $3,360 per course
    Elmhurst College: $3,000 - $3,227 per course

    Illinois Institute of Technology: $3,000 - $9,500 per course
    Illinois State University: $3,500 - $6,400 per course
    Illinois Wesleyan University: $3,000 per course
    Lake Forest College: $6,500 per course
    Lewis University: $2,700 - $3,000 per course

    Loyola University: $4,000 - $12,000 per course
    North Central College: $780 - $2,460 per course
    Northeastern Illinois University: $5,475 per course
    Northern Illinois University: $2,700 - $5,000 per course
    North Park University: $2,680 -$4,800 per course

    Northwestern University: $3,000 - $8,586 per course
    Oakton Community College: $2,000 - $6,000 per course
    Roosevelt University: $2,100 - $4,750 per course
    Southern Illinois University: $3,000 - $6,000 per course
    University of Chicago: $3,500 - $5,000 per course

    University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: $2,625 - $8,400 per course
    University of Illinois at Chicago: $4,000 - $8,000 per course
    University of Illinois at Springfield: $5,500 per course
    Waubonsee Community College: $1,875 - $2,100 per course
    Wheaton College: $2,775 - $3,700 per course

    The above information is from The Adjunct Project.

  2. And college tuition is how much? Does not make much sense to me.

    1. Illinois University/College Costs 2015-2016 (a selection):

      “The costs provided are updated each fall with the previous year's information and are intended only as an estimate of the average tuition and fee costs at the colleges listed. Depending on the student's program of study, living arrangements and a variety of other factors, the actual costs could vary significantly and are subject to change by the college at any time. Contact the college directly for exact costs.”

      Illinois Public Universities Annual Tuition & Fees:

      Eastern Illinois University: $11,931
      Illinois State University: $14,518
      Northeastern Illinois University: $13,842
      Northern Illinois University: $14,283
      Southern Illinois University at Carbondale: $13,237
      University of Illinois at Chicago: $14,612
      University of Illinois at Springfield: $15,612
      University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: $15,626
      Western Illinois University: $13,336

      Illinois Private Colleges and Universities Annual Tuition & Fees:

      Augustana College: $37,236
      Aurora University: $21,120
      Benedictine University: $25,572
      Columbia College at Chicago: $22,884
      DePaul University: $34,390
      Dominican University: $29,400
      Elmhurst College: $33,700
      Illinois Institute of Technology: $39,975
      Illinois Wesleyan University: 40,664
      Lake Forest College: $40,448
      Lewis University: $27,830
      Loyola University at Chicago: $36,146
      North Central College: $34,050
      North Park University: $24,540
      Northwestern University: $46,836
      Roosevelt University: $26,900
      University of Chicago: $47,139
      Wheaton College: $31,900

      Illinois Community Colleges Annual Tuition & Fees:

      College of DuPage: $4,557
      Elgin Community College: $3,820
      Harper Community College: $4,391
      Joliet Junior College: $3,855
      Moraine Valley Community College: $4,262
      Oakton Community College: $3,750
      Triton College: $4,128
      Waubonsee Community College: $3,776

      The Cost of College Tuition http://www.collegeillinois.org/PlansAndPricing/CollegeTuitionCostandFees.html

      Private Colleges in Illinois