Adjuncts Feel Disconnected

teacher-deskAdjuncts feel disconnected at many, perhaps most, colleges. My article for the FORUM is on that topic. And today there is an article in the Chronicle on that very topic.

The school sounds very similar to CC1, with 3x as many adjuncts as full-time faculty. We have 300+ adjuncts to 110 full-timers, though, so there are fewer of us. And we have 2 offices available to us instead of 25.

Their lack of connection to full-time faculty members and to what goes on at the college outside the classroom poses a crucial problem, they say, not just for them but for the institution and its 10,766 students.

“There is a whole social and professional interaction that goes on in the faculty world that ignores adjuncts,” says Lawrence E. Marks, who has been a part-time teacher of psychology and global studies at Oakton for seven years. “I don’t have any chance to struggle with the faculty over what’s right or wrong in the classroom. The ultimate benefit of that is for the students.”

Adjuncts are paid to teach, and many work at several institutions, which leaves them little time or inclination to get very involved at any of them. But that poses an increasing problem as part-time adjuncts now make up about 50 percent of the professoriate nationwide. That means that half of the nation’s college instructors may not feel much of a connection to the campuses where they teach.

There are things that can be done about this. One of my campuses works hard to make the adjunct faculty feel like they are a part of the faculty there. It depends on the full-time faculty more than anything else. And I would guess that when you are outnumbered 3 to 1, you just don’t have the time to get to know the part-timers.

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