Adjuncting

Nationally, adjuncts teach 30-50% of all credit courses. At community colleges, adjuncts compose about 60% of all faculty (Gappa and Leslie, 1993).

But “The Effects of Salary” says:

Adjunct faculty make up approximately sixty-five percent of all faculty teaching at the college level…

At CC1, the adjuncts are 75% of the faculty. This is with 53,000 students (Student Served Report) in the system.

Pay

Within a single school adjunct pay can vary based on “market realities” of the hiring pool
from Adjunct Pay Discrepancies Justified.

Why adjuncts are paid so little: They are an interchangeable commodity. Any one of them will do.

Analysis of Adjunct Instructor Pay from Colorado Community Colleges is very clear. It’s easy to read and a quick read, too.

At my CCs I make half of what I make (per class) from the SLAC.

Why people adjunct:

One doesn’t do it for the money, but for one’s vita! I did it for two years and it added great stuff to my vita, which did help me get a real job.

from “Adjunct Salary–How Much?”

Preparation

A poll at Adjunct Nation says that the vast majority of adjuncts spend 1 hour or more for each class meeting in preparation. (297 to 75 [for 30 minutes] or 32 [for 15 minutes].)

Load

Schools allow different numbers of courses per adjunct. For a long time CC1 only allowed five courses per regular school year. Now an adjunct can teach six.

CC2 has an adjunct choice that gives an adjunct five classes per semester (full-time load) and requires office hours. This is not a lead in to full-time work but IS full-time work for part-time pay. It’s a wonder they’ve ever hired anyone with this option.

Summer classes

Faculty around here all teach first summer session but don’t want the miniterm (three weeks in May) because it doesn’t count toward their 10.5 contract. So, if you are up for teaching a miniterm, and your schedule allows for it, you often can. Otherwise, you’re looking at Summer II, a long break at the beginning of the summer and a week at the end.

Insurance

Texas now allows adjuncts to purchase insurance if they have taught for a year and continue teaching at least four courses a year. The cost, in my system, is about $750 a month for me and two minor children. If I teach five classes a year, I take home nothing.

Continuing education

Some expectations:

Document the completion of three (3) hours per semester of professional development activities related to the discipline area and student learning

Attend such meetings and workshops as may be necessary to obtain or renew certification or essential licensure requirements

from Expectations of Adjunct Faculty Members at Yavapai CC in Arizona.

Jaschik’s article discusses a continuing ed system in which adjuncts who complete 60 hours of professional development get a pay jump of $33 per credit hour for three years. (That’s almost double my pay at CC1 or CC2.) For each additional 60 hours of professional development within that three years, their pay jump is continued for another three. AND their title changes from adjunct to “associate faculty.”

I’d like to do that. How can I get in on it?

This may be the answer to my adjunct certification question.

Benjamin (2002) has suggested ways that overreliance on part-time faculty may undermine successful student integration. Not only did he find part-time faculty to be relatively unavailable, but he also found that many used less challenging instructional methods. Plausibly, then, reliance on part-time faculty may hinder both social and academic integration and may also be understood as a factor that connects the integration model to the Bean and Metzner barrier or “student attrition” model.

New Directions for Higher Education published a dedicated volume documenting concerns that poor institutional assimilation by part-time faculty adversely affects student learning. The effects included reduced instructional quality, lack of curricular cohesion, and weak advising (Benjamin, 2003a, 2003b; Cross & Goldenberg, 2003; Elman, 2003; Schuster, 2003; Thompson, 2003; Townsend, 2003). While successfully raising questions about the instructional effectiveness of part-time faculty, the quantitative evidence in that volume did not address the central question of whether heavy reliance on part-time faculty significantly alters student outcomes. This issue was directly assessed in two quantitative studies examining student persistence and graduation. Harrington and Schibik (2001) studied one large midwestern university and found that, when freshmen took a higher percentage of their courses with part-time faculty, they were less likely to persist towards their degree. Ehrenberg and Zhang (2004) tested a large sample of institutions for which there were multiple observations dating back to 1986. They concluded that for each 10% increase in the percentage of faculty employed part-time at four-year institutions, graduation rates decrease by 2.65%.

from the Journal of Higher Education

Adjunct Certification

CC1 is offering an adjunct certification program again. (I had signed up for it this summer, but since I wasn’t in school it completely slipped my mind.) I am going to take it, but the option has made me think.

Why do I need to be certified?

I am an adjunct at my college, but I have a PhD and multiple years of teaching experience. Very few full-time faculty in my department have their terminal degrees. In fact, the college brags that “most of the faculty have their master’s and a bit more.”

My CC1 does not intend to hire me. I applied last year and they chose someone else. Another adjunct has been applying for the last twelve years and has not been hired. So why do they want me to be certified?

Why does anyone (who is an adjunct) have to be certified?

I am guessing the idea is to “beef up” the looks of their adjunct pool. There are over 300 adjuncts and 108 full-time faculty at my college. It’s a 75% adjunct teaching rate. I am assuming they are thinking it will be great to be able to say “Our adjuncts have all been certified.” Maybe they will eventually use it for beginning adjuncts.

All the adjuncts have to have the same minimums that the full-time faculty has, though, so I don’t know why the adjuncts have to be certified and the full-timers don’t.

Why am I going to be certified?

I am going to be certified because I like to learn and this will offer me an opportunity to do that. I need to be a bit more careful about my back-patting. I often feel that I have more experience than everyone else and while the breadth of my experience may be wider (Who do you know who has taught in a one room schoolhouse?), my years of experience are often similar to others.

I am also going to be certified because it is continuing education that I can point to and say, “See, I do still care.”

And just in case they change their mind and decide to hire me, I want to be available, as a graduate, to teach the course later.

What does it mean to be certified?

It means I will have four classes, two hours each, and show up. (Yes, I know I didn’t do that part last time.)

It means I will read all the online assignments and respond to them. These are supposed to be 24 hours worth of work. (They turned out not to be anywhere near that amount, but I spent time researching the topics more online.)

It means I will create a reflective journal. (Can I blog and print that?)

And it means I will have to do a project after the class is finished.

But I still don’t get it.

Why do they think I particularly (as opposed to full-time faculty) need to be certified?

I’m not going to ask anyone. I don’t want to make waves.

But I would like to know.

I know I am an adjunct but…

this was a little strange.

A woman I’ve never seen before, but will remember for a while, walked into my class and said, “Excuse me. I have a message from the dean.”

Certainly, of course. Speak your piece.

“This class may be ended. If you have a message in your email by noon tomorrow, you will know not to come back.”

I’m staring at her. The students are too.

“I hate to be the bearer of bad news.”

Dang.

I’ve been let go by someone whose name I don’t even know. Does she know mine? Or did the dean just say, “Go tell the adjunct in 512 West that her class isn’t going to make.”

And, yes, I would rather know this before I come back for class and I am sure the students would too. But I have their phone numbers and emails. I could have let them know.

Oh well. It was efficient.

And I won’t be driving in traffic after all.

What can I expect as an adjunct?

Nationally, adjuncts teach 30-50% of all credit courses. At community colleges, adjuncts compose about 60% of all faculty (Gappa and Leslie, 1993).

But “The Effects of Salary” says:

Adjunct faculty make up approximately sixty-five percent of all faculty teaching at the college level…

At CC1, the adjuncts are 75% of the faculty. This is with 53,000 students (Student Served Report) in the system.

“Student Served Report Including Flex Entry.” Lone Star College System. Summer 2008. 7 August 2008 .

pay

Within a single school adjunct pay can vary based on “market realities” of the hiring pool
from Adjunct Pay Discrepancies Justified.

Sadowski, Laura. “Adjunct Pay Discrepancies Justified.” Gonganza Bulletin Online. 16 November 2001. 7 August 2008 .

Why adjuncts are paid so little: They are an interchangeable commodity. Any one of them will do.

Analysis of Adjunct Instructor Pay v. Full-time at Colorado Community Colleges, very clear
job schedule

load

Schools allow different numbers of courses per adjunct. For a long time CC1 only allowed five courses per regular school year. Now an adjunct can teach six.

CC2 has an adjunct choice that gives an adjunct five classes (full-time load) and requires office hours. This is not a lead in to full-time work but IS full-time work for part-time pay. It’s a wonder they’ve ever hired anyone with this option.
insurance

Texas now allows adjuncts to purchase insurance if they have taught for a year and continue teaching at least four courses a year. The cost, in my system, is about $700 a month for me and two minor children. If I teach five classes a year, I take home about $600.

preparation

A poll at Adjunct Nation says that the vast majority of adjuncts spend 1 hour or more for each class meeting in preparation. (297 to 75 [for 30 minutes] or 32 [for 15 minutes].)

summer classes

Faculty around here all teach first summer session but don’t want the miniterm (three weeks in May) because it doesn’t count toward their 10.5 contract. So, if you are up for teaching a miniterm, and your schedule allows for it, you often can. Otherwise, you’re looking at Summer II, a long break at the beginning of the summer and a week at the end.
planning

involvement with the department

involvement with the college

Continuing education– learning expectations: workshops, Blackboard, etc

Document the completion of three (3) hours per semester of professional development activities related to the discipline area and student learning

Attend such meetings and workshops as may be necessary to obtain or renew certification or essential licensure requirements

from Expectations of Adjunct Faculty Members

Jaschik’s article discusses a continuing ed system in which adjuncts who complete 60 hours of professional development get a pay jump of $33 per credit hour for three years. (That’s almost double my pay at CC1 or CC2.) For each additional 60 hours of professional development within that three years, their pay jump is continued for another three. AND their title changes from adjunct to “associate faculty.”

accreditation, certification

Works Cited
Gappa, J.M., and Leslie, D.W. The invisible faculty: Improving the status of part-timers in higher education. San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, 1993.

Types of adjuncts:
enrichment
voluntary
involuntary

Why people adjunct:

One doesn’t do it for the money, but for one’s vita! I did it for two years and it added great stuff to my vita, which did help me get a real job.

from “Adjunct Salary–How Much?”

“Adjunct Salary–How Much?” Chronicle Forums. 27 September 2002. 7 August 2008 .

Musings on how many courses an adjunct can teach and stay sane

Here’s how it began:
Last semester was my first to teach at two schools. I wasn’t looking seriously into teaching full time yet, but I knew that the opportunities for a full-time position were limited at CC1. So I took a second job at CC2 to get my foot in the door.

Getting a full-time position at CC2 is even more unlikely than at CC1, it turns out. They’re not just growing slowly, they are actually losing numbers.

I still offered to teach for them again, when they sent out a schedule of unmanned courses, but they said they could not say whether they would need me or not. So I took on an adjunct assignment at another school.

This school offered me three classes right off the bat. So I took them. It also pays better than CC1 or CC2, which didn’t effect my willingness to teach, but did make me feel good about it.

Since then (early June), I’ve been asked by CC2 to teach the two classes I requested. I turned them down. There’s no way I can go from two schools to three, not with the classes I ended up taking. The times wouldn’t match up well enough.

So, at that point in the story, I have five classes, a full-time load at CC1.

Then I start reading all these articles by Jill Carroll saying how she taught twenty courses adjuncting all over the county, my county or the next one over by the way, and anyone can do it if they are just determined enough. (Less Whining, More Teaching, Do Adjuncts Need a New Attitude?, My Dog Ate Your Papers… Please note that she is a history professor, not a writing instructor. I am fairly sure that this fact means she has a lot fewer writing assignments to grade.)

I felt very– I hate to admit this– guilty for only having five courses and not making anywhere near as much money as a full-timer.

So without telling anyone else, I agreed to take a third class at CC1. The Chronicle’s forum has an instructor who says he always teaches 6/6/3. So it’s not totally ridiculous.

What I’ve done well:

The three classes at CC1 are all the same course, are taught in a computer lab, are my favorite classes, are the ones I’ve taught forever, AND have “only” twenty students in them each.

The three courses at NewSchool are all the same course, are courses I have taught before, have shorter essays required, and (supposedly) have a low number of students.

What’s not so great:

All six courses are writing courses. And I’m a big believer in practice making practically perfect.

So now what’s the issue:

I just got a call from NS and they want me to teach another two courses, which is a higher load than their full-time people teach ONLY at their school. That’s five courses for NS. And for me that would be a total of eight classes.

Plus side on taking the extra classes:

The pay would be (obviously) better. It would actually jump to a livable wage. And I wouldn’t have to make the trip anymore than I already am because they are after my classes that are already scheduled.

This is a school I’ve applied for a full-time position with and, although they didn’t hire me, they did say to try again next year. And they need the teachers. So my taking on an insane amount of classes, for a single semester (assuming I could do them well), might get the college more on my side.

Negative side to taking more classes:

Er, the eight classes.

And the fact that NS is very interested in research. If I’m teaching and grading like a maniac, when would I have time to research? Of course, I’m also not actually planning on writing a lot during the semester. I have a list of things to do over the Christmas break and, if I have time, I’ll do research this semester. But mostly I’ve planned against doing research this semester.

So?

My husband tells me I would be crazy to consider it. (I must be crazy.) I should write them back and thank them for the offer, but inform them that my time is already scheduled differently. (Which it certainly is.)

And I agree with him.

BUT

It’s a lot more money. (Hey, we could actually get out of debt next semester.)
It’s only one semester. (I can do anything for a semester, can’t I?)
It’s a school I think I want to work at full-time. (And a more-than-full-time job might let me know if that’s true. Or maybe not. Since I wouldn’t have any time to meet anyone.)

So I am still mulling it over. Thinking about it. Thinking I might just do it.

And that I really will be busy if I do.

Teaching outside the halls of academia

Jill Carroll’s article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, Selling Your Skills, talks about teaching for the continuing-ed market.

She says:

The courses usually meet once a week for anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks. A typical class session lasts two hours, with a break in the middle. In my area of Texas, teachers can earn about $150 to $250 for each class session of a continuing-ed course. Say you teach a four-week course that meets once a week, you can make between $600 and $1,000. And that’s without having to grade any papers, hold office hours, or do much advance preparation.

That’s good pay. But when you go to the only continuing education supplier that I know, they say you usually end up with $25/hr. That’s no where near the numbers she gives. I can’t imagine that pay for instructors has gone down, but maybe it has. Their Handbook says 30-40% of the fee goes to instructors (who have to pay to rent the rooms and for the course listing) while the Application says 20-35%. So I guess it could have.

I wonder if there are other continuing ed places besides Leisure Learning Unlimited.

Musing on Adjuncts

Community College Dean has a post on limiting adjuncts to a certain number of classes.

I have been working on responding to it and writing about it here, but my mind goes in a dozen different directions so I haven’t been very coherent. I am starting over.

1. Why do we have adjuncts?

Originally, I believe, the adjunct position was created so that people who were professionals in their field could teach a few classes. So, for example, my father could teach a corporate law course and A’s husband could teach an engineering class.

This benefits the students by giving them “real world” teachers and benefits the school by adding some prestige to a department that cannot, perhaps, afford to hire a big name corporate attorney or a six figure engineer.

Now, however, adjuncts are a financial decision. As a college administrator, for example, I can pay Dr. Davis $1600 per course to teach eight courses a year and she makes $12,800. Or I can hire Dr. Davis full-time to teach ten courses and she makes $50,000, not including benefits. For the same cash cost, I can hire 2.5 part-time adjuncts and have almost 2.5 times the class coverage. That is great for the college.

2. Why the caps on course load for adjuncts?

Here’s what happens if the caps are on:
An adjunct who is trying to make a living takes three classes at college 1, because that is how many they allow. She teaches TTh afternoon and a T and a Th night.

Then she goes to college 2 where she teaches three classes. It is thirty minutes from her home instead of ten and she goes from 8 am TTh until 1:30 and then she eats lunch and heads for her other school.

She is now making $9600 a semester.

This is not enough to live on in any major city in the US, which is where she lives so that she can be around lots of colleges, so she goes to another and teaches three classes there…

And very soon you get “burnt out adjunct” who moves on to something else. Which is financially the best choice for the adjunct. But a motivated teacher is lost to the world. (Who else but a motivated teacher would live that way?)

Here’s what I’ve seen happen when the caps are taken off:
If the college hired full-time-part-time adjuncts (as one of my colleges calls it), giving them a full course load and office hours, and only paid $10,000 a semester, then the adjunct makes $20,000 and the full-time teacher makes $50,000. That’s good. The college has saved $30,000. But the adjunct can’t support her family on $20,000, so even though she has a full five-course load, she also has to teach somewhere else.

She takes an extra three classes at another college and makes an additional $5,000 a semester, which allows her to buy insurance for her family.

Now she’s working as an adjunct at two colleges and she’s surviving.

There’s no reason for either college to pay her more and there’s not a whole lot of an incentive for her to do something else.

So she does more work than her colleagues for a little bit more than half the money.

And when she gets the scut courses, the service courses, the classes at the odd times that no one else wants to teach, she knows that even the work she does isn’t valued.

Anyone would be welcome as long as they have a master’s and eighteen hours in her field. They don’t even have to be a good teacher.

3. If the pay bites so badly, why does anyone become an adjunct?

Some people become adjuncts to pass on their love for the field. These are people, again, like my father or my friend’s husband. They are the historical adjuncts and they are a blessing to any college.

Some people become adjuncts because they have a full-time job and want to make a little extra money. These are the people who are usually teachers at the local high school or at another college. They come and adjunct to have money to go out to eat or take a vacation. These people are also a blessing because they are already dedicated teachers.

Some people become adjuncts because they have a full-time avocation and want either the more adult interaction or some extra money. This is how I became an adjunct. As a full-time mother, I felt shut off from adults. Even eighteen year olds are more mature (usually) than six year olds. But I didn’t want a full-time position because I felt being a mother was my full-time work. These people are good for the college because they can bring the passion of a full-timer with the freshness of a part-timer.

And some people, the ones the caps most matter to, become adjuncts because they don’t have a full-time job. They might be in an area with lots of high credentials, such as a small town with a major university and faculty spouses abound, or they might be in a field where there is a surplus, such as English, or they might have a commitment to a certain area where full-time jobs are all filled by relatively young faculty and so there are no openings. These people want a full-time job. Perhaps they need the money and do not want to leave teaching. Perhaps they don’t know what else they could do. Perhaps there are no full-time jobs of any sort in their area, because of the demographics or the economy.

Taking away the caps won’t matter for these people because they need full-time pay and unless you as a college are willing to let them teach eight classes a semester and two or four in the summer, then they’re going to be teaching somewhere else anyway.