Inside Higher Ed
February 9th, 2015
Most observers agree that adjunct instructors deserve better pay, but what about $15,000 per course? The Service Employees International Union shocked even some adjunct activists last week when it announced that figure as a centerpiece of its new faculty advocacy campaign. But while union leaders admit the number is bold, those involved in the campaign say adjuncts might as well aim big, since they have little to lose. They also say they hope the $15,000 figure will force a national conversation about just how colleges spend their money, if not on middle-class salaries for instructors.
“Clearly this is an aspirational goal, but it’s a realistic goal, as well,” said Tiffany Kraft, an adjunct instructor of English at four different institutions in the Portland, Ore., area, where she earns $2,700 to $3,400 per course -- about average, nationwide. “What I think needs to happen is a re-evaluation of how money is transmitted through universities -- there needs to be transparency there... Yes, that $15,000 number is bold, but it’ll get people to wake up and start doing the math, about how many students are in a class and faculty pay, and [what percentage] of tuition dollars actually gets spent on instruction.”