Full-time, Overloads, and Adjuncts

First, before I begin, I will say that had I not received a full-time offer this year, I would not have paid much attention to Community College Dean’s discussion of what it means to be a professor with an overload. Does it impact adjuncts? Should we care? Does it impact the full-timer’s work? These are some of the questions CCDean asks.

The reason I now find it relevant is that I will be teaching an overload this fall. It is not by choice. My four-hour classes only count as 3.75 and my options are to take an underload, which will not be possible because the alternative assignments are all already taken, or an overload.

Truthfully, I don’t want an overload. I’m new at the school and I’ll be learning at least as much as most freshmen students, though hopefully not the same things! I really am expecting to be too busy to teach an overload. But since I have to teach it, I guess some of that learning will be put off.

I also don’t want an overload because they are going to pay me for it as an adjunct. So my extra work will earn me an additional $1000. Not cool. I’d almost rather they took the $1000 from my annual pay and let me teach an underload. But that’s not an option.

This is the framework from which I came to CCDean’s discussion. His discussion isn’t really on that topic, per se. But it is an interesting tangential point.

Folks who teach overloads also tend to be less available for committee meetings, since they’re more likely to be in class at any given time. Others have to do more unpaid labor so they have time to do more paid labor. It doesn’t smell right, and it somewhat discredits the idea that full-timers should be paid more because of their college service. If they aren’t available to do that college service, what, exactly, are we paying for?

I think THAT is CCDean’s most significant point.

What are we paying ft’ers for?
1. Years of service. That explains one set of “steps” in the promotion and pay ranks.
2. Degrees. That explains the other set of “steps.”
3. Tenure. I don’t mean that in the academic sense, but in the real world sense. We are paying our ft’ers to be around for the long haul.
4. Committee service. I think that’s a low ranking point. See the academic tenure rules for clear proof of that.
5. Name recognition. As an ft’er I am supposed to get my college’s name “out there.” I am supposed to publish and present and let people see that the ft faculty at MyCC is active, professional, and amazing.

That’s what I think they are paying for.

Name Recognition
Having been an adjunct who gave three different colleges Name Recognition on 19 publications and 29 presentations, I think that while Name Recognition is important, it is not limited to ft faculty. In fact, I think it is sometimes, at least in CCs, limited to adjunct faculty.

At CC1, the home of my longest tenure (length) as an adjunct, I sent the CFP for the state English conference to all the tt professors. No tt profs applied, only adjuncts did.

So I am not sure that, in the CCs at least, name recognition is usually that important.

HOWEVER, I also know that I lost my bid for a ft position at MyCC last year because I didn’t have as many publications as another candidate.

So, at least in this financial climate, it is important to the adjuncts who want to get tt jobs.

Years served
At least in my systems (four), no one was paid extra for having been a long-time adjunct. I know that some systems do, but I think these are rare. So we pay twenty-year veterans and newbies out of their grad classes the same amount.

We OUGHT to pay them based on seniority, but then we’d have to pay them more. Most of the point of adjuncts is to help the administration balance a precarious budget.

Also in my systems, there was no additional pay for advanced degrees. (See discussion above.)

This is what I think is the most important reason to pay ft’ers.

We pay ft’ers so that the courses we need taught and want taught will be taught. I dropped three schools and five courses last week, when I got the offer from my college. Five classes, including four hard-to-staff classes, will go begging. They’ll find someone, I am sure. But it won’t be someone who is qualified to do the work. Or at least it won’t be as qualified as I am.

That’s not bragging. That’s truth. I taught those courses BECAUSE they are hard to staff. I have the skills and it’s why I had the classes.

Ft’ers rarely leave a position two weeks before classes start. They don’t do that because they have ft pay.

Yes, we pay adjuncts squat so that we can keep the bills of the college down. I know that. But we pay the ft’ers a living wage so that we can keep the dropped courses down.

Committee Service
CCDean seemed to think this was the most important thing that differentiated ft’ers from adjuncts. I have never seen a CC where this mattered though. No one got ranks, promotions, tenure, or raises based on committee service.

You reward what you value.

Colleges do not reward committee service.

Is it any wonder that ft’ers are willing to do something to get out of a null advantage?

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