Friday, July 11, 2014

#Adjuncts are an important part of your institution so please treat them right

Higher education, especially the non-traditional sector, is increasingly relying on adjuncts to teach their courses. I am not going to discuss pros and cons, or equality versus inequality; what I do want to talk about is blatant abuse of adjuncts. There is a mentality in some places that says, “we can replace you in an instant so just suck it up”; newsflash, a skilled adjunct is a prize worth keeping and not that easy to replace.

“Falling Short”

“Summer means lean times – leaner than usual – for many adjuncts, as fewer courses offered means fewer available sections. So adjuncts at Northern New Mexico College who say they were shorted by a third on their last two paychecks say they’re not only angry but have been thrown into an unexpected financial bind.”

“Adjuncts also say it’s symptomatic of larger, ongoing problems between the college’s faculty and administration.”

““No one would have signed a contract if they’d known – it takes an hour for most of us to commute there,” said Miranda Merklein, a former adjunct instructor of English at Northern New Mexico who has stopped teaching there due to the shorted paychecks. “There are adjuncts taking out payday loans and barely surviving.””

“Merklein was paid just $345 before taxes and other deductions for the first two paychecks of the summer – about $318 net. That’s compared to the approximately $500 gross she was expecting for each paycheck. The difference means not being able to afford gas to commute to the rural college outside of Santa Fe, and rationing food for her teenage son between budgeted trips to the grocery store.”

“Tim Crone, a retired tenured professor of sociology and president of the college’s American Federation of Teachers-affiliated faculty union, said Northern New Mexico was apparently balancing its budget on the backs of its most vulnerable employees: adjunct faculty.”

““What’s disturbing about this is that the budget for summer session is included as part of the annual budget, so the money for these people’s paychecks was provided by the state, and apparently the college spent this money,” he said. “So they’re robbing Peter to pay Paul.””

The sad thing is the school will probably get away with this behavior because not enough people care.

Adjuncts are professionals deserving of respect.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

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