Help Wanted: Low-Cost Adjuncts

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by carlosb, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. carlosb

    carlosb New Member

    A friend forwarded this to me. I have never nor do I ever want to teach but is being a adjunct really this bad?
  2. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    If you try to make a living of it, yes. I look at it as an interesting diversion that happens to put some money in the bank.
  3. jimnagrom

    jimnagrom New Member

    Adjunct teaching conditions depend on your sense of reality.

    If you look at it as a relatively good-paying PT job - it's fine.

    If you persist in looking at it as a career option (which it is not) it's pretty bad.

    The reality is - far fewer people get tenure than want tenure - welcome to the world.
  4. tschneider

    tschneider New Member

    One of my professors at Baker College was an online adjunct for several different colleges and that is all he did for a living. He was comfortable, not rich by any means, but he enjoyed working from home and enjoyed teaching, so for him it was worth it. Since everyone deems "success" differently, I think it just depends on what the individual wants.
  5. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    It is why I have a day job!:cool:
  6. AuditGuy

    AuditGuy Member


    It's nice "found" money, but most people do it for the interaction and the challenge.

    It's a cash cow for the University though, look at UoP. They pay approximately $850 per course starting, and charge $475 per credit Undergraduate.

    Then again, in general I don't think academia scales are comparable to the outside world. My view is somewhat limited, but one example is a local university is posting for an Asst. Professor of Business and Economics.

    PhD Preferred, or MBA, CPA minimum, with teaching experience strongly preferred. Starting salary $41,000.
  7. jimnagrom

    jimnagrom New Member

    Re: Adjunct

    Nice article on academic salary

    Basically part of the value of teaching is the satisfaction and the security - if tenured. Will I ever be wealthy - no - but it's interesting, comfortable, and reasonably compensated. Faculty retiring this year earn approx. $140,000.
  8. jimnagrom

    jimnagrom New Member

    Re: Par for Professors

    Pay for Professors

    faculty members at doctoral universities, who already earn more than those in other sectors, also received larger raises this year. Average raises, and salaries across rank were: 3.1 percent at doctoral institutions ($78,236), 2.3 percent at master’s institutions ($60,807), 3.0 percent at bachelor’s institutions ($57,959) and 2.1 percent at community colleges ($52,862).

  9. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Suggest you review the classic "Professor of Desperation" story from the Washington Post.

    Typical pay for a PhD (or near-PhD) adjunct professor, teaching an undergraduate arts & science class at a standard B&M college, might be something like $2,000 to $4,000 per course. Lab courses might pay a bit more. Typically adjuncts are not allowed to teach more than 2 or 3 courses at any given school, because then they would become "full-time" and qualify for benefits. So adjuncts often seek work at multiple schools. Typically adjuncts are hired on an as-needed basis, with no guarantee of work from one semester to the next. Typically adjuncts get no office or respect from the department that hires them.

    It's OK to be an adjunct if you don't actually need the money -- for example, if you are a retired judge that occasionally teaches at the local law school, or a professional engineer that occasionally teaches a specialized technical course at the local engineering school. In such cases, adjunct teaching may be interesting and rewarding for its own sake, and adds prestige to your resume.

    But if you are a newly-minted PhD with no other employment options, and you need to make a living wage as an adjunct, then it sucks. Unfortunately, the percentage of all college-level courses are now taught by adjuncts is large, and it continues to grow.
  10. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Adjunct work is perfect if one is working as a freelance or consultant. In Canada, adjuncts normally get benefits based on seniority and it is possible to make a living if one combines it with a private practice.

    I know at least one professor that makes 100 K a year in adjunct work. He teaches only stats about 20 times a year. Each course pays about 6K CAN and he has a full time assistant. On top, he takes the summers off.
  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Think outside the border

    If you can find enough appointments to keep you busy full time as an online adjunct, which I understand means teaching for at least two, then you can live very comfortably in many places in the world. In fact, you can probably spend thirty hours a week teaching online and still live very well in a lot of very nice places.

  12. gasbag

    gasbag New Member

    No, it's worse. I was an adjunct at a well known Southeastern C-I doctoral university for one academic year (never again!, NEVER AGAIN!!). Had a mailbox, 125 students per class, per semester, and three teaching assistants. Cheating was epidemic. The TAs were paid more money than I, and had higher status in the department, despite the fact that two of the three were completely unable to communicate in English (guess what -- my students didn't see any humor in this). To say that the university treated me with disrespect would be unfair -- I was treated with utter contempt. The modern C-I doctoral university is, in my opinion, the most exploitive, unprincipled institution extant in the US.

  13. AuditGuy

    AuditGuy Member

    Re: Re: Help Wanted: Low-Cost Adjuncts

    Hit it right on the head. TA's and Adjuncts are an intentional cost saving measure that allow Professors to research and write. For an interesting case, see the unionization of adjuncts at George Washington U in DC. Will post a link.

    Personally, I don't mind, I think of it as semi-paid training that I can put on my resume. I teach night classes and the only person at the U who knows me by face is the Dean's secretary.

    The most appreciation I get from students is in career advising, where I think adjuncts have a huge advantage over academics.
  14. carlosb

    carlosb New Member

    I am more surprised at the second-rate aspect of being an adjunct than the pay. I found this comment to be interesting:

    This makes it sound that adjuncts are really full-time wanabees. It was my understanding that adjuncts from the business world do not want to be full-time but do it more for personal reasons. Saying "Perhaps they should understand that academe has rejected them." seems mean-spirited to me.

    Just my opinion
  15. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    My first accounting course at Pace University (night school) was taught by the Controller of a large bank. He taught because he liked it and because it kept him current in his field.
  16. AuditGuy

    AuditGuy Member

    Originally posted by carlosb

    This makes it sound that adjuncts are really full-time wanabees.

    The opposite of this argument is that business academics are CPA wannabees. Neither one is true.
  17. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Based on the salaries I've seen advertised for full-time faculty job ads, I earn, at my full-time job, well over twice that of an entry-level Ph.D. at a generic RA college or university.

    I teach online because I enjoy it, it keeps me up-to-date in my field, and I also like the flexibility of being able to grade assignments at 1:00 A.M., in my pajamas, after I get home from work. The money is almost an afterthought, since I could earn a lot more by working OT or details.

    I eventually want to earn a doctorate, with the goal of securing a full-time teaching position, but only after I retire. With my very generous city pension plan, plus my pre-tax ING contributions towards retirement, any teaching salary would be pure gravy to me.
  18. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Re: Re: Re: Help Wanted: Low-Cost Adjuncts

    Please do! I'm a grad student there by distance, so it interests me to learn more about the enviornment there.

  19. cogent

    cogent New Member

    Adjunct Pay

    I am a fulltime tenured professor, so let me get that out of the way. I am also president of my faculty association. Having said that, first off yes adjunct pay is horrible. So is pay in baseball's minor leagues, for instance. But it does give you a chance to show your stuff to the big leagues and a fraction of those folks get to move up to the big house. I was an adjunct for 10 years at a community college in southern arizona. I quit after I got a straight answer to my question "will I ever get a chance at a fulltime slot?" The answer, in that teaching field (communication) was... "wait until one of us dies." At the time, I looked around and decided to get qualified as a computer instructor. And guess what? It worked. I got hired here in Phoenix as a fulltimer teaching computers. Luck and timing, I guess. If you try to make teaching as an adjunct a career, you are crazy. Use it to supplement income, like many of our adjuncts do, and to showcase your talents. We often hire good adjuncts when fulltime slots become available, but the competition for a slot here in the Maricopas is fierce. I was on a hiring committee for a business faculty that had over 400 applicants. Having said all this, I am always in favor of raising the pay and "benefits" (whatever we can get) for adjuncts because a rising tide lifts all... in other words, raise adjunct pay and fulltimers pay goes up, too.
  20. gasbag

    gasbag New Member

    Re: Adjunct Pay

    I'm sure your intentions are good; nevertheless, I am really offended by this kind of sentiment. It is patronizing. I am an expert in my field, and I, too, make more than twice as much money in private industry as most of the "big league" tenured professors I was adjuncting for. I also have more publications than most, and more patents than any of them (engineering). Talk about a bunch of man-children with bloated egos!

    Have a nice day . . .

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