For a while now, I have been hearing that full-time positions in academe have been slowly fading into part-time jobs, especially for the community college. I met a community college professor a few years back that told me not to go into the community college work force because of this impending issue. He was working part-time at two local community colleges because he could no get a full-time position. Of course, this issue is still of concern a few years after that conversation took place. The Chronicle of Higher Ed even posted a report with lots of graphs and info that suggested adjunct faculty were “dominating the work force” (Schmalz and Oh).
I would have no problem being an adjunct. It’s a “pay your dues” kind of reasoning in my mind, plus it opens up an opportunity to gain my teaching experience and experience multitasking. Adjuncts are a very important part of any English department, taking on loads of work because of the love of teaching. Obviously though, I would eventually like to end up with a full-time, tenure-track position, like many graduate students who seek to stay in academia. A full-time teaching position means stability. It means that I can put roots in an area. It means that I can really immerse myself in the school and the community. That’s ultimately the goal. Is it attainable? Or is part-time, as Schmalz and Oh suggest, the way academia is heading? I’m not sure. I’ve been browsing the job market now even though I still have at least one more year of graduate school left, and I’m seeing plenty of tenure-track community college positions available. It’s just a matter of being willing to relocate—or at least, that’s what it appears. Here’s to hoping.
Schmalz, Julie and Soo Oh. “In Academe the Future is Part-Time.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 15 September
2014. www.chronicle.com/interactives/adjunct-explainer. Accessed 19 April 2017.
One Response to PFP: Jobs
I’m glad that tenure-track positions still exist at the community college level. Can you imagine the job insecurity if it was easy for departments to replace you with an adjunct every time there were budget problems. Especially at a community college where you aren’t managing a giant grant with your name on it (hard to replace you).
On a side-note, the saddest thing is when you see adjuncts who have paid their dues for a decade plus, and are never given a chance. That is a shameful act on the part of the department. If they aren’t worthy of a professorship, cut them. If they are, pay them what they are worth. It seems evil to just keep them in perpetual limbo and underpay them by 50% just because it is the most economical way to move forward.
Honestly, “we can’t afford it”, is not a good excuse for underpaying your employees in any field, nor does it justify refusing to cover benefits. If a restaurant manager said “I can’t afford to pay my employees minimum wage”, you’d say “that sucks but I guess you can’t afford to stay in business” not “oh OK then, just keep abusing these people”…