Editorial: Colleges’ overreliance on adjunct faculty is bad for students, instructors and academic freedom

December 03, 2021 / PSU-AAUP

Los Angeles Times

by the Times Editorial Board

November 28, 2021

The era of college courses taught mostly by tenured professors, who spend time on research and scholarly pursuits in addition to teaching, has been fading fast. Increasingly, the work of instructing students now rests with lecturers or adjuncts — non-tenure-track faculty, almost always working part time for less money and with almost no job security.

In California, they’re often known as “freeway fliers” because they drive from one campus to another in order to patch together a mediocre full-time salary teaching one or two courses at several colleges and/or universities, usually without benefits.

On a per-hour basis they might make $70 to $120. But that’s only for the hours they’re in front of a classroom. The outside-of-class responsibilities easily triple their workload. They must plan lessons, grade papers and tests, write letters of recommendation, deal with students’ other needs and hold office hours — in whatever space they can find because they’re seldom assigned an office. They usually can be let go for a semester or forever, even if they’ve worked at the institution for a decade or more, for any reason or no reason at all. Nearly a quarter of them rely on some form of public assistance, usually unemployment insurance between semesters and academic years, according to a 2020 report by the American Federation of Teachers.

Read the full article at the Los Angeles Times

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