New study of contingent faculty

The American Historical Association reports on a survey of adjunct faculty by the Coalition on the Academic Workforce. The results are not surprising, but they are disheartening – except insofar as they may reassure you that you’re not alone. Here is an excerpt from Robert B. Townsend’s article:

“Drawing on responses from 10,331 faculty members employed in part-time teaching positions in the fall of 2010, the CAW report demonstrates the limited pay, support, and appreciation provided to most of those employed in those positions.  … For the history field, both surveys found that most of the respondents consider these jobs their primary employment, with only about one-quarter of those employed part-time in history reporting that they teach in these positions alongside another full-time job. But their continuing commitment to and enthusiasm for teaching is evident in the number of years the respondents spend in these positions. In history, a majority of the respondents had been employed as contingent faculty for six years or more.

“But the average payment per course remains relatively small–only $2,700 in fall 2010, with history faculty in these positions earning slightly below the average at $2,600. And the survey respondents indicated that they generally did not receive pay increases for working in a position for multiple years—indicating there is little premium for experience in these positions.

“Regardless of their relationship to the work, it is notable that large portions of the respondents in all the disciplines indicated income from these positions was either “essential” or “very important” to their livelihood.”

There is more. You can read the complete article here: http://blog.historians.org/news/1675/underpaid-and-underappreciated-a-portrait-of-part-time-faculty-members

The AHA will report on “the full range of contingent faculty employed in American colleges and universities” in the September issue of its publication Perspectives on History.

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