This one is for all you adjuncts out there (I hope it’s not so bad):
A presentation by L. Maren Wood, PhD, of the Lilli Research Group, which you may (or may not) be interested in signing up with for occasional emails. This group is associated with “Beyond the Professoriate.” It takes the view, in general, that most PhDs will need to find non-academic positions and that this is both a possible and fulfilling option.
The presentation appears to be a rather pessimistic assessment of data, suggesting that adjuncts have little chance of obtaining a tenure-track faculty position. But if the graph is correct (I admit, I haven’t had a chance to watch this through), many adjuncts will find hope in the possibility (25% for those in the humanities) of still making it.
But combine this presentation with the article from the Chron posted earlier and perhaps there are new careers awaiting scholars outside of or only partially inside the academy.
Hello Hidden Scholars,
I had meant to inaugurate my coordinatorship (not a word yet, but I’ll use it anyway) with a different type of post, one that focused simply on the Hidden Scholars organization itself, but yesterday I happened upon an article about adjuncts that some may find interesting. I myself have tried to leave the world of adjuncting behind to concentrate on my scholarship, but the issues still are important to me, as they are to many of you.
Most of what the author describes is more than familiar to anyone who has either worked as an adjunct in the past couple of decades or just been around adjuncts. So what’s in the article will not likely read as “news” to you should you decide to read the article. The structure of the work force in higher education is changing along the same lines that it is for other parts of the economy. The effects on higher education, of course, may be more dire than for, say, taxi driving because the nature of teaching changes under these new conditions, while driving pretty much remains the same as it has been, even if now performed under increasingly insecure conditions. Unless driverless cars make driving obsolete…. Maybe someone knows of a good analysis that compares these effects?
But the main reason I’m giving the link is not that the information about adjuncts provided in the article is unfamiliar, but that the author talks about a novel written by an adjunct faculty member about adjuncting and the novel seems to have garnered considerable praise.
The article appeared on alternet.org (a basically left-center news and opinion site): http://www.alternet.org/education/heart-breaking-stories-academia-america-treats-most-faculty-peons-and-results-are-not
The novel is called Fight For Your Long Day and is by Alex Kudera. It has just recently been reissued in a classroom edition, as I understand it, and is praised for its insights into contemporary higher education. I hope to read it soon.
We had a small group and a rich conversation last Wednesday. The struggle of being an adjunct and a freelancer, its successes and its discouraging side. Working with the academic world and with the general public. Finding a way back into the job market amid family responsibilities. How long the life of an independent scholar is sustainable. The meaning of scholarship. It’s good to talk about these questions with others on similar paths.
By chance, the Boston Globe recently published another op-ed about adjuncts. A lot of it isn’t news, but I did appreciate the writer’s observation that universities have “backed into” a business model that depends on contingent academic labor.