Archived Discussions are read-only. New forum coming soon.
I’m starting to see posts like this one from Greg Bales popping up in various places. Great example of how to start personalizing and utilizing the data.
Thanks, Josh. There’s a lot to work with, and I haven’t done very much at all. I’ll be updating the post as I dig further in.
Fantastic! Thank you again for this site!
Very glad to see this project. I am very satisfied with my job, which allows me to teach online courses full-time at my school. I make about half what a tenure-track faculty member would make with my seniority (and I have only a year-to-year contract), but my preference is for a full-time teaching job, and I love the freedom I have in this position, a far greater freedom than I would have in a tenured position, which of course has many conflicting duties and responsibilities. My only responsibility is to teach my students, and every year I am able to do a better and better job of that (which makes me optimistic that I will be able to retain my position). I wish the university would create more teaching positions like this one – 100% teaching positions which are well compensated and with a reasonable teaching load. A situation like mine is a WIN FOR EVERYONE: a win for me (I love the job), for the students (they love the classes), and for the school (students make better progress to graduation by having required courses like mine available online – plus, I am still a profit center, bringing in money to the school beyond what it costs to pay me). I’ve been at this for ten years and I hope to still be at it ten years from now!
I have had a bit of success in my spot as a ‘Lecturer’ and I hope that it continues (though with current political in-fighting, I fear it will not). I came in several years ago to a Kentucky university as a lecturer – a one-off with no strings or expectations beyond the one class. By the end of the term, I was asked back to teach 2 classes – then someone quit to spend time with their family and I accepted a 3rd class eagerly. The next term, I was asked if I would teach 4 classes and from then on out, I’ve taught a full-time load (or in some terms, more) for a couple of years. I was also able to lead some study abroad courses as well as develop classes in my own right, using my own books, syllabi, and style of teaching. All of this is due to a department chair who recognized that lecturers and adjuncts are an integral part to the functioning of the department. But now that department chair is under siege because full-time, tenured faculty feel he is favoring the ‘temporary’ lecturers too much – something they call a ‘lack of leadership’ – and about 30% of them have lobbied for a vote of no confidence that they will then present to the college dean. If they are successful, I can expect a return to the “good old days” where there were lots of ‘lecturers’ who teach 2 to 3 classes and are afforded no respect, no stability, and definitely not a living wage.
Why were the FT faculty behaving this way? Were the Adjuncts out performing them? Why not use the increase in student demand to carefully create new tenure lines or at least better long-term contracts? I highly doubt they were concerned about a lack of credentials or the integrity of the program.
Forge alliances with students and Chairs. The best years of my adjunct life were experienced as the result of great efforts to protect and support the adjuncts by senior faculty and administrative comrades. While mos of the work was still contingent and contractual, the participation in the overall college culture increased and for a few academic years, some kind of level playing field was used to do what we do.
Adjuncts typically outperformed tenured in every metric. For instance, 9 of the 10 top student Credit Hours/Full Time Equivalency were so-called “temporary lecturers” meaning that we temps were teaching more students in sum total than tenured. Part of this comes from a lack of interest in survey (and thus larger class size) classes on the part of tenured faculty, part of it is the eagerness of “temporaries” to teach larger classes, and part of it is because “temporaries” are not offered reassign time to write books, sit on committees, or whatever. Still, we are doing the heavy lifting. So, yes, the adjuncts were out-performing the tenured, by and large. It doesn’t help that the provost has the attitude that ‘good teaching is not enough’ to get a long term contract. I try hot to fathom it as that way lies madness.
I’ll definitely take your advice and cultivate allies – it never hurts to hedge one’s bets, especially when politics are involved.
Thanks for writing back. I don’t mean to dominate these conversations in any way but I’ve been waiting and fighting for about three years (on top of the other efforts across the 00s) to provoke, sustain, support, push, pull these conversations.
It seems that many of our full time colleagues didn’t get the memo or threw it away, the one that says: increased enrollments, profound remedial needs, and a need to focus on learner-centered teaching will require all of us to do more heavy lifting.
So much of me wants to say “stop lifting.” Just stop, turn off the machines Norma Rae style. Another part wants to use the noise of the machines to begin conversations and organize across class and disciplinary lines outside earshot of the haters. And another wants to take all the knowledge I’ve gained over the years studying insurgent cultures, post-colonial empowerment, and guerrilla tactic and apply them to our plight — no commercials, no mercy!!!!
The answer is probably: use all of these tactics and then some.
All’s fair . . . it’s just that many of our colleagues haven’t gotten or have destroyed that other memo: the one that says “we’re engaged in the battle of our lives.” Hell, it took me three or so academic years to really take to heart the “situation.”