The Washington Post
August 22nd, 2014
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. The median salary for adjuncts,
according to the American Association of University Professors, is
$2,700 per three-credit course. Some schools raise this slightly to
$3,000 to $5,000; a tiny few go higher. Others sink to $1,000. Pay
scales vary from school to school, course to course. Adjuncts teaching
upper-level biophysics are likely to earn more than those teaching
There is no uniformity, but similarities abound. Benefits, retirement
packages, health insurance? Hardly. Job security? Silly question. An
office? Good luck. A mailbox? Maybe. Free parking? Pray. Extra money for
mentoring and counseling students? Dream on. Chances for advancement?
Get serious. Teaching assistants? Don’t ask.
AAUP reports that part-timers now make up 50 percent of total faculty.
As adjuncts proliferate, the number of tenured jobs falls. Why pay full
salaries when you can get workers on the cheap?