The public is being taken by higher education. Even Ivy League institutions are making money at the expense of the nation's future progeny. The problem is too many adjuncts. What is going on here?
It's all about saving money. Much money is spent on research and buildings at the expense of student learning. The nation's college and university system is being high-jacked by a model that emphasizes part-time instructors over full-time professors.
The number of full-time faculty in degree-granting institutions increased by 42 percent from fall 1991 to fall 2011, compared with an increase of 162 percent in the number of part-time faculty. As a result of the faster increase in the number of part-time faculty, the percentage of faculty who were part time increased from 35 percent to 50 percent during this period. (National Center for Educational Statistics, April 2013)
According to an article published in the Adjunct Project by Rod Skiff, Nov. 2013
Elites—in this case, tenured senior faculty, administrators, corporations, and government bureaucrats—have gamed the system to benefit themselves. They treat higher education like a business. This is not a new phenomenon—elite patronage and state sponsorship of education has existed since the days of Confucius, Socrates, and Nāgārjuna.
In order for the system to function—that is, to increase the profits of the institution and perpetuate the position of its elites—it must extract ever-greater amounts of capital from two groups: students and adjunct faculty. Institutions and elites maintain their power and position through a hierarchical command/control structure whose motto may as well be divide et impera.
How does student learning suffer? "Four-year colleges are undermining their own efforts to educate students by relying on part-time adjunct instructors who often lack the time or training to use effective teaching practices, a new study suggests." (Chronicle of Higher Education, Peter Schmidt, Nov. 2010) Going further, another article in the Chronicle of Higher Education by William Pannapacker, Dec. 2001 lists ten reasons about students being harmed.
Adjunct faculty need a livable minimum wage (average nationwide $2600 per three credit course) along with reasonable benefits. This proposal will succeed in connecting these educators to their institutions, prevent them from having to teach at multiple schools and give them more time to address student needs.
Please email your state and federal representatives and state and federal departments of education concerning your position involving adjunct educational reform to enhance student success.
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