Friday, October 24, 2014

How to Treat Adjuncts

Inside Higher Ed
October 24th, 2014

It is the time of year when graduate students, unemployed Ph.D.s, contingent faculty, and various rubberneckers are clogging the lanes of the internet looking for job announcements. And, in spite of improvement in certain areas of the economy, there are few to be seen.
Amid the gloom, as job hopefuls often do, I found myself imagining what I would like to do if I did find myself on the tenure track after this year. One of my increasingly prosaic fantasies is that I would be able to act as a good mentor to future contingent faculty, who will no doubt be a part of our academic labor ecosystem for some years to come. (Only about 30 percent of faculty positions are now full-time, tenure-line positions, although the composition of course varies by the type of institution.) If my years in adjunct purgatory do indeed come to an end, these are some of the basic practices I would like to put in place that would show consideration for adjuncts and lecturers.  (To understand my perspective, here is my story.) And if I spend another year atoning, then perhaps others can do the job for me. Here, then, is a brief guide for tenure-line faculty to treating your contingent colleagues with respect.

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