Karpf, J. (2015). What adjuncts need. Chronicle of Higher Education, 61(26), B30-B30.
This brief Chronicle article discusses four main needs of adjuncts, as seen by the author. Job security tops the list, followed by livable wages, health and retirement benefits, and institutional support to do what they’ve been hired to do. Unions are touted as one way of providing an avenue to help meet these needs. Using the 2012 report by the Coalition on the Academic Workforce the author makes a case for meeting the needs of adjunct faculty through the unionization of contingent faculty.
Coalition on the Academic Workforce. (2012). A portrait of part-time faculty members [electronic resource] : A summary of findings on part-time faculty respondents to the coalition on the academic workforce survey of contingent faculty members and instructors. Retrieved from http://www.academicworkforce.org/CAW_portrait_2012.pdf.
This report looks at demographics, compensations & benefits, and professional support of over 19,000 survey respondents. Much of the qualitative data was gleaned from the over 30,000 responses to two open-ended comments. The report found that a higher percentage of women and a lower percentage of minority provided information as compared to the distribution shown in the 2009 NCES data. The data also raises questions about the belief that part-time faculty are either young, up and coming faculty or those teaching in a second, part-time career as more than 70% were in their prime earning years (ages 36 – 65). Community colleges and master’s institutions were where the most courses were taught. Additional demographic areas of questioning include length of service, desire for full-time work and teaching load. The section on compensation and benefits held no surprises, pay is low, with unionized institutions paying slightly better. There is little variation by gender, but significant variation by race or ethnicity. Institutional support was also investigated and found to “paint a dismal picture”, showing that there is little support for part-time faculty. The tables appended to the report and the notes and works cited are valuable components of this work.