A Call for Higher Wages for Adjuncts

The effects of this crisis should be known to everyone. Contingency has been a dirty little secret for nearly half a century, in plain sight but almost totally ignored, and nothing will change until the facts are widely understood. The majority of college teachers in the United States today—over a million individuals—are contingent. Most of them are so-called “adjuncts.” They are paid poverty wages, earning an average of $2,700 per three-credit semester course. Most adjuncts make $10,000 to $20,000 a year, often working more than 40 hours per week. An estimated 80% lack any health or retirement benefits, and academic freedom is meaningless in the absence of any job security.

A minimum of $5,000 per course—that’s what adjuncts and their supporters are asking for in their Mayday Manifesto that went live yesterday, according to Inside Higher Ed.

In other education news, the Philosophy Department at San Jose State University wrote an open letter to Professor Michael Sandel from Harvard about why they don’t want to teach his online course (MOOC):

First, what kind of message are we sending our students if we tell them that they should best learn what justice is by listening to the reflections of the largely white student population from a privileged institution like Harvard? Our very diverse students gain far more when their own experience is central to the course and when they are learning from our own very diverse faculty, who bring their varied perspectives to the content of courses that bear on social justice.

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