The Chronicle of Higher Education
December 15th, 2014
It’s unclear precisely when the term "adjunctification" was borne. It’s mentioned as far back as 2000 in articles about the job market
in the humanities. Linda Collins used the phrase in a speech in 2002
when she was president of the California Community Colleges’ Academic
Senate. Since then, the condition she so succinctly described—academe’s
overreliance on adjunct faculty members, especially at two-year
colleges—has only gotten worse. More than half of all U.S. faculty
members now hold part-time, contingent appointments.
That situation and what to do about it have become frequent topics of conversation in The Chronicle
and elsewhere. Having followed the discussion closely, and having dealt
directly with part-time faculty members for many years as a former
department chair and academic dean (not to mention being a former
part-timer myself), I’ve concluded that there is no single solution.
Perhaps we can take steps to alleviate it over time, but only if we come
to fully comprehend its various nuances.