Happy adjuncts? Think again.

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Academe Today” arrived in my mailbox at 4:23 am.  I wasn’t there to greet it at that time, but by 6:30 I had found this most amazing lead:

Most adjuncts like working off the tenure track

What!?!   As one commenter said, “Yes, I love having no job security, making $250 a week and best of all – no health insurance. Why would I want that pesky old tenure. :)”

At some point in the morning, the title was changed to:

Many full-time instructors prefer working off the tenure track

with an editor thanking commentors for pointing out the error of the former one.  The full-time instructors are a different breed:

The full-time instructors the center interviewed earned much more than part-timers: an average of about $57,000 per year for those who were primarily teachers and about $75,000, on average, for those who were full-time researchers within the faculty ranks.

Now that’s different. 


3 thoughts on “Happy adjuncts? Think again.

  1. Different, but still surprising. I wasn’t happy teaching 4-4 off of the tenure track for $32K and I don’t think the other lecturers I worked with were happy with it. Of course, if we made anything like $57K, that would be a different story. I’m guessing that if you’re making that much off of the tenure track, you’re not teaching philosophy. I know quite a few who don’t make that once they make it on the tenure track.

  2. Clayton, I think I wrote this in a hurry, and wasn’t thinking through the issues.

    I expect those who are happy are often in science departments. One research prof I know is making about $85,000, and though he really wants a tt job, right now he is just doing his own work.

    Research profs are not uncommon in the sciences, but the comparable thing in the humanities is, I’d bet, too often much less fortunate.

    Now, having said that, I had a similar thing at a very good university where I taught, I think, 2-2 and continued for a number of years earning what might amount to 35-40K a year in today’s dollars; it had its cushy aspects, and since my partner had a good job in a research lab, it was not a terrible solution to the two body problem. I also had some good friends in the dept. Even then, though, there was a pervasive way in which one did not count.

  3. Yes, I think I’d happily work as a lecturer for low pay if it helped solve the two body problem. My well-intentioned coworkers tried, but their efforts always ended in disaster.

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