Doctoral Candidates Anticipate Hard Times

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by me again, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. me again

    me again Well-Known Member


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  2. bazonkers

    bazonkers New Member

    What's worse, the tenure track funding that is getting cut in this economy is likely to never return. Universities are starting to figure out that they can get adjuncts cheaper to teach many courses without paying for benefits, retirement, etc. It's going to be tough times indeed for those looking for traditional tenure track positions.
  3. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Former President Bill Clinton said that humanity is entering the information age; and along with this comes an explosion in knowledge that becomes readily accessible to the masses -- and not just to the educated elite of centuries gone by. There was a time when only the elite (or privileged) were granted an opportunity to receive a formal education, but in the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and throughout the world, getting an education is now readily available to the general population, at least in countries that have stable governments. The explosion in online educational opportunities is a part of this unfolding process and it will be interesting to see where it leads.
  4. foobar

    foobar Member

    Hasn't this been true for the last twenty years for math and history professors?
  5. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    Yes, I remember this in the early 1990's. (History)
  6. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    The above post was not made by "me again" but, instead, was taken from an article in the New York Times. In reference to foobar's quote, yes, the statement from the New York Timnes has been true for many years, but in the downward economic spiral, it's not improving; in fact, a bad situation is now even worse. :eek:
  7. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    Very much so, and not just in the humanities. When I completed my PhD candidacy (I'm in an engineering dept), there were 3 tenured faculty in my department that were going to be retired by the time I complete my PhD. We have a growing undergraduate program, and my chances were quite good that I would be able get one of these positions. However due to the massive UF budget cuts, these position will not be filled at all. More teaching will be done by TA's and existing faculty will have to take on more classes. What were once "really hard to get" positions, are not even there at all anymore.

    Not having any reason to be in Gainesville anymore, I decided to join my fiancee in Princeton, NJ who was offered a postion there. (I can work on my dissertation from anyhere.) There was a local CC that was having an adjuct recruitment fair, and I decided to go. To my suprise, there were well over 1000 people there, all trying to get a postion that pays $610 per credit hour with no benefits.

    Even if someone was able to get a full load of courses (for a CC that is around 18 credit hours I believe), that would pay around $33,000 a year. There are much easier ways to make $33,000 that do not require a Masters or PhD.
  8. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    Wholly cow! You could make a bit more then that teaching online as a side-gig. Have you explored the online options?
  9. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Math Professors - I'm not sure
    History Professors - Um, yeah!
  10. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    This is a huge issue at least for Continuing Education departments. There is less motivation for people nowadays to go back to the University as they can find most of the information online. Back in the old days, you had to get face to face training to keep yourself up to date but it is not longer the case.
  11. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    The over supply of PhDs was expected and this will have a huge impact in online education as well. I teach some doctoral courses online and the haven't run since last year. If regular PhD graduates from B&M schools are not getting jobs, online PhD candidates are less motivated to finish their degrees or even enroll. As online schools have more potential candidates available, they might raise the bar to a minimum of a PhD to be an adjunct and keep salaries frozen that might translate in lower salaries for future.

    In times like this, it is best to diversify your portfolio and combine your income from different sources and don't rely only on one option.
  12. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    Yes, I just thought it would have been easier to get a B&M position since I was showing up in-person. However, I was number 380 in line for my interview, and that was only the business/economics line. There were longer lines for English, Math, Sociology, Biology and you other typical CC subject.

    While I was waiting, I was talking to others and trying to get a feel for the other types of people there. I did not see too many PhD or PhD candidates in my area, but there were a ton of MBAs and MS in Management. Was surprised me the most were the amount of JDs and CPAs there, people whom I've always heard CCs had a hard time finding to teach. One guy with a CPA was telling a lot of his CPA friends were retired but now looking for work since their retirement accounts have lost so much value.

    But literally, the stack of resumes left at the end of the day for just the business/economics department was over 3 feet high. I just don't see how they are going to through all that and narrow down their choices.
  13. DBA_Curious

    DBA_Curious New Member

    That makes a LOT of sense to me. At one of the schools at which I adjunct, I've heard the comment "Most of our instructors are very old and retired..."

    I think the economic crisis is going to force a ton of retirees or near-retirees back into the workplace. How well they're integrated remains to be seen.
  14. DBA_Curious

    DBA_Curious New Member

    I don't know. Universities may find themselves wondering where the students went if they try to survive on adjuncts alone.
  15. bazonkers

    bazonkers New Member

    This is exactly the reason I think the days of teaching at a CC with 18 graduate credits in a subject is coming to an end. I bet that somewhere in that 3ft stack there were a few DBA or PhD degrees. If I had to thin down the stack, those people would be at the top of the hiring list. If I liked them and thought they'd be a good fit, the rest would go in the trash.

    With the glut of PhD holders on the market, it's going to become very difficult I think for MA/MS and 18 credit applicants to land teaching jobs. Having industry experience or a specialized masters might still get you a position but it will still be harder to find work than it has been.
  16. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Sadly, it seems that adjuncts do a much better job teaching than tenure tracks. Few reasons for this: adjuncts rely on good evaluations to keep getting work, they tend to have more working experience than tenured faculty, teach at many institutions so they can get input from different programs among others.

    The model that many schools are following is to keep a stable pool of adjuncts with very few full time faculty, full time only concentrate on research that would attract research funds and teach few courses but the mass loads go to contract faculty. At least this seems to be the trend at some major Canadian Universities with business schools, they seem to have tons of work for adjunct part time faculty but almost no full time positions. When one becomes available, there are 100 applicants for one position so it is almost like winning a lottery ticket when you get them.
  17. bazonkers

    bazonkers New Member

    If all the universities end up moving to the adjunct model, where will the students go? They aren't going to have much of an option. Additionally, I'm not so sure that the average incoming freshman has any idea the difference between an adjunct and a tenured professor. In fact, I remember that some of my classes taught by adjuncts and instructors when I went to Penn State where sometimes better than the ones taught by the tenured professor. Often times, the professor saw teaching as an interruption to his or her research. I had several courses where I never saw the professor, only their TAs.

    As for the courses I've taken at community colleges, I couldn't really tell you if the teacher was full time or an adjunct. They taught the subject well and were very knowledgeable. I had no complaints.

    Unfortunately, I don't think many students are going to care one way or the other if their teacher is full time or just hired at the last second just for that class. As long as they don't feel their education was compromised (or for some, as long as they simply pass) it won't matter to them at all. If educational quality doesn't nose dive, it'll be hard to argue why hiring adjuncts isn't a viable plan.
  18. DBA_Curious

    DBA_Curious New Member

    Oh the students will care and here's why.

    If Universities ALL move to the adjunct model, you're not going to have academic communities any longer. There's a difference between being taught by a TA, who is part of that aforementioned academic community, and an adjunct who is basically a contract mercenary (me). When onground schools give up their academic community, they basically have the same loose continuity that the online schools have. And once you reduce all of the offerings to the same product, why would I pay more to go to Podunk State U. if I can do it online and in a more convenient fashion?

    I teach at a few universities in my area. One's a national university with campuses everywhere and one's a local university with several satellite campuses. As you might guess, the national university has the worst reputation because of its high tuition and ubiquitous advertising.

    Yet, the national one has the best library by far. The national one has a more convenient facility and the national one is where ALL of the adjuncts I've met from the local one with the 'better rep' would like to work. The only thing the local one has going for it is its name.

    And that name is based on its campus and academic community, not its night program which is staffed entirely with adjuncts.

    Colleges are short-sighted. They see the money night programs bring in and think "Well why not apply the same structure to the day program?" but the night program rides on the day program's reputation.

    Boil it down to the same product and people will pick the most convenient offerings.

    And who do you think is going to do a better job of offering convenient, online education? The existing players who have already embraced online education or a plethora of state universities trying to exist in two worlds?

    Trust me - when the state guys move away from tenured faculty and become night schools basically operating during the day, the online schools have won. They already know how to deliver that product and they do it well.

    It's a simple business strategy problem. The focused guys always win if their competition tries to be everything to everybody.
  19. scaredrain

    scaredrain Member

    I am an online adjunct for 4 universities and I was told at one university that they only have doctorate level faculty on staff at the traditional campus, because the accreditation guidelines call for it and that if they could have all adjuncts they would, due to the lower costs. Many of the students really do not have any idea if their instructor is full time or part time. I have friends who have doctorates and they are having a hard time finding online work, while I have had more offers than I can handle, in fact I have had to turn down some. I think it depends on the experience of the person and the subject they are instructing. Since most universities pay doctoral level adjuncts more than master level adjuncts, I think the trend will stay with the hiring of master level adjuncts instead of doctorate level ones to keep costs down. I am also noticing that class sizes have increased online with 2 of the universities that I work for, so the number of sections these universities once offered of the same course, is decreasing. In one class I have 30 students, when normally I would have 15 to 20 and in another one I have 34 students.
  20. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing this. It is definitely the trend.

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