Wednesday, September 24, 2014

No Country for Old Adjuncts

Inside Higher Ed
September 24th, 2014

Many adjuncts wonder why colleges that employ them year after year, giving them good reviews course after course, seem to have no interest in them when tenure-track jobs open up. Several legal court cases suggest that bias against adjuncts may be linked to age discrimination.
"Whether this is a definite trend or not, I don’t know, but there’s been an increase of these cases, and that’s a good thing,” said Maria Maisto, president of the New Faculty Majority, a national adjunct advocacy group. “We know anecdotally that is a problem and we hear about it all the time.”
Last week, the Washington State Supreme Court said that a longtime adjunct instructor of English at Clark College who accused the institution of age discrimination in not selecting her for a tenure-track position had enough of a case for it to proceed to trial. That court’s decision overturned several lower courts’ rulings in favor of Clark, which claimed that Kathryn Scrivener was the lowest-performing of four faculty-backed candidates interviewed for two open positions. Both eventually went to candidates under 40, who were selected by the president and vice president. But Scrivener, who began at the college in 1994 as a part-time adjunct and had been a “temporary” full-time instructor since 1999, said ageism was at play. She was 55 at the time.

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