Inside Higher Ed
by Colleen Flaherty
June 23, 2021
Two new sets of papers from the TIAA Institute emphasize the “volatility” of adjuncts’ employment, benefits and financial security, and how institutions need to think deliberately and creatively about how to better accommodate them.
‘Those Who Have Everything and Those Who Do Not’
The first study, led by Manuel S. González Canché, an associate professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania, finds that 60 percent of adjuncts employed at multiple institutions have participated in a retirement plan, even if they’re not currently contributing to it, compared to 46 percent of those employed at one institution. Forty-five percent of adjuncts employed at multiple institutions have employer-provided health insurance, compared to 27 percent of those employed at one institution. And 45 percent of adjuncts working at multiple institutions are concerned about their ability to retire, compared to 36 percent of those employed at one institution.
In a network analysis, the availability of faculty unions was consistently linked to “bringing more security to these volatile academic appointments,” the papers say.