How Did We Get Here?

I started to read a post but couldn’t get past its opening sentence”

Adjunct professors now make up almost 70 percent of all faculty members in the United States.

If this is true, then it’s a tragedy. It’s a tragedy for our entire system of higher education.


P.S. If somebody has data showing that this is not true, I’m waiting to hear from you. I will dedicate a post to your general awesomeness.


7 thoughts on “How Did We Get Here?”

  1. I wonder what would happen if we separated two year colleges from four year colleges – surely the percentage would drop. Although… I work at a state university, a four year university. Of the 12 of us in my building 4 are tenure track faculty, 6 are instructors, and 2 are adjunct. D


    1. “does the quoted statistic consider yearly instructors as adjunct”

      – I think it does. It should, in any case because we are talking about contingent faculty here.

      The grad students who teach should not be counted, though.


  2. Okay then I don’t have a statistic but will check back to see if someone does – what has been your experience? I have taught at a huge private school and two satellite campuses at large state universities so my experience may be skewed – but I certainly think that adjunct faculty is the trend. Hiring freezes and whatnot.

    And I agree that it isn’t right.


  3. I really think they ought to separate contingent faculty from adjunct, because adjuncts are the ones who are paid by the course, have no benefits, may not have an office, and so on.

    Many regular instructors, on the other hand, have salary, benefits, raises, etc., and although they are technically annual appointments they in reality are as permanent and as much part of governance and so on as tenured faculty. *And* they haven’t done the Ph.D. – didn’t go through a tenure process – didn’t move across the country for a job.

    That is just not the same situation as the people with the rotten adjunct situation – PhD, publications, away from family, and piecing together a living on courses taught for a small lump sum, no benefits.

    Of course, I am for hiring all TT, all PhD, etc., but in the meantime we in our department are treating the MA instructors a lot better than some are treating their PhD adjuncts.


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