Prof. Ash | Indy Week

Prof. Ash 
Member since Apr 1, 2016


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Re: “Duke’s Adjunct Faculty Uprising Is Just What Higher Ed Needs

(and note: I am NOT saying NTTs should get all the perks that TT get. There are crucial differences in the jobs they do—though I don't think it's too much to ask to provide basic decent working conditions for all faculty. HOWEVER, hiring lots of NTTs allow universities to offer more sections, increase enrollment, increase tuition revenues WITHOUT having to invest in infrastructure like faculty office space or technology needs. And where is the money going? That is the question...)

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Prof. Ash on 04/01/2016 at 12:48 PM

Re: “Duke’s Adjunct Faculty Uprising Is Just What Higher Ed Needs

Thanks for a terrific story on this issue. What I would love to see added to discussions of the transition to majority NTT faculties is the infrastructure component. Universities obviously save a ton on salaries and benefits by hiring contingent faculty. But there are other major crucial differences in investment between the two classes of faculty. Tenure track job offers almost always come with a nice start-up package—money for a move, if applicable, and a nice little sum to buy equipment, set up a lab, etc. Most universities also provide access to $ annually for TT faculty development (going to conferences, etc.). I've never heard of a university where TT faculty DON'T have their own office with a phone. And all TT faculty are provided with computers—usually brand new and purchased to their specifications—upon hiring, and often(/usually?) semi-regular upgrades. NTTs, on the other hand, tend to be crammed into shared office space, often without basic necessities. In many cases this isn't even a mass office with cubicle type setup, but literally a time-shared space that they can occupy for office hours for a few hours a week. (This is why you can usually spot NTTs on any campus—they're the ones dragging wheeled bags around behind them because they literally don't have any space to leave their belongings while they teach.) Lucky NTTs have a shared computer and phone that they can use when they get office time, but this isn't even a guarantee for all. What does that mean? They have to provide their own computers, print their materials at home, put their cell # on their syllabi (or just not be accessible to students by phone). In other words, the faculty with the lowest pay have to foot the bill for the basic tools of doing their jobs. They are literally freelancers/independent contractors.

The cost savings to institutions must be HUGE. Are these savings reinvested into instruction or to the benefit of students? I think we all suspect what the answer to this question is, but it would be terrific to see some journalistic attention to this aspect of the issue.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Prof. Ash on 04/01/2016 at 12:42 PM

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