Thursday, July 17, 2014

I Just Used to Work Here

Inside Higher Ed
July 17th, 2014

Recently, an assistant dean at a university at which I’ve taught sent me an email. A former student of mine had reached out to this deanlet because the student — whom I'll call Jill — “received an F in [my] course and she and her father [had] asked for clarity.” A few days later, a department secretary from another university I’ve worked at sent me an email that said that a former student of mine had called her “regarding the grade of an ‘F’ received” in my class. According to the secretary, the student — whom I’ll call Jack — “said that he should’ve received a ‘B,’ ” and asked her to ask me to give him a call on his cell phone. As an adjunct, these students’ problems shouldn’t be my problems, yet somehow they are.
I used the past tense of the words “teach” and “work” above to describe my relationship with these universities because I no longer teach for or work at either of these colleges and haven’t since May, nor is there any guarantee that I will work for them in the future. I am, after all, only an adjunct. I am, by definition, “something added to another thing but not essential to it.” I understand that, and I thought the university administrators who have long thought it best to add cadres of nonessential folk such as myself to fulfill the university mission of education instead of hiring full-time faculty understood this as well.

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