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Adjuncting in the U.S.
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peripatetic_soul



Joined: 20 Oct 2013
Posts: 296

PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:37 pm    Post subject: Adjuncting in the U.S. Reply with quote

Here are the most recent articles concerning the plight of adjuncts in the U.S. as a result of institutions complying with the ACA:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/24/house-report-adjuncts_n_4661682.html

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/20/22326956-class-divide-on-campus-adjunct-professors-fight-for-better-pay-benefits

Be sure to read commenters' posts.
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revilo



Joined: 05 Oct 2013
Posts: 181
Location: Mos Eisley

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:24 am    Post subject: Don't read about it; do something about it Reply with quote

The situation for adjunct instructors will not improve unless we do something about it in a concerted effort.

In order to meet the ACA rules, administrators at colleges and universities are cutting teaching hours of instructors. "You work less than 30 hours per week, you don't qualify for Obamacare." Let's not forget that teaching also includes grading & prep time, which expands the number of hours, so if they include this in the equation, they will cut it even more.

Administrators will be happy to throw us under the bus and have us compete against each other. I don't know of any administrator who has to work at more than 1 college. Don't you think they need to EARN their pay? If so, sign the petitiion at this link:

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/better-pay-for-adjuncts?mailing_id=18942&source=s.icn.em.cr&r_by=5704055
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esl_prof



Joined: 30 Nov 2013
Posts: 2006
Location: peyi kote solèy frèt

PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All true. I'm glad to see that over the past year this discussion has begun to move from specialized news sources like the Chronicle of Higher Education and into the mainstream media.

I'm fortunate to work for a college that is now offering health insurance to adjuncts who work a minimum of thirty-hours per week. Unlike, some colleges who have essentially said, "You teach fifteen hours per week, you don't qualify," my school is crediting us 2 1/2 hours for each hour we're in class to take into account prep time and grading. Likewise, time spent doing office hours, tutoring, and attending meetings also counts towards the weekly total. Unfortunately, too many schools have taken the Wal-Mart approach of trying to figure out ways to avoid their responsibility to contingent faculty under the ACA. In some state, however, adjunct may be able to get around that by simply enrolling in Obamacare via their state's health care exchange.

That being said, adjuncts still have a long ways to go in this and other areas.
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esl_prof



Joined: 30 Nov 2013
Posts: 2006
Location: peyi kote solèy frèt

PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For those who haven't read it yet, Alex Kudera's novel Fight for Your Long Day is an excellent depiction of the plight of adjunct instructors. It's a ground-breaking work in the genre of college professor novels, depicting the protagonist as an adjunct rather than a full-time tenured faculty member. Here's an excerpt from a review in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Quote:
The most important thing, from my perspective, is that Fight for Your Long Day offers a realistic depiction of the life and psychology of an adjunct teacher. Most readers do not have that image of professors; Duffleman assumes that his students probably think he is one of the people profiting from their exorbitant tuition rates, and he is too proud to undeceive them.

Now that three-quarters of college teachers are contingent faculty members like Duffleman, the depiction of professors as tweedy, pipe-smoking dons or turtlenecked, bearded radicals with actual authority is inherently reactionary. It paints all faculty members as a pampered elite, disconnected from the "real world," ignoring the reality that most of them have more in common with Wal-Mart employees than they do with the one-percenters who preside over Kudera's urban academic hellscape of poverty, terrorism, outsourcing, deskilling, externalization of costs, and privatization of profits.


http://chronicle.com/article/Considering-Adjunct-Misery/138085/?cid=vem
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peripatetic_soul



Joined: 20 Oct 2013
Posts: 296

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:01 pm    Post subject: Adjuncting in the US Reply with quote

It seems it is becoming more and more difficult to recruit "adjuncts" for college ESL courses where previous instructors have left for full-time jobs overseas or have retired. I know we are in dire need of two upper level writing instructors but can't find any preferred candidates to commit because a) contracts are subject to sufficient enrollment (you won't know until the day before the semester if you actually have a class to teach which places one in a precarious economic situation, b) the mandatory admin duties, paperwork and grading in those upper level courses consume so much of your "free" time (i.e., unpaid labor), and c) candidates want (and deserve) some benefits (which definitely are not forthcoming). Perhaps if this phenomenon were to continue nationwide, thus creating a huge gap in the supply/demand equation, colleges might rethink their policies about offering adjuncts only class hours and no other perks. Where are all those student tuition dollars going? Any thoughts, eslprof? You always have such optimistic, well-balanced, articulate messages of wisdom to impart. Adjuncts unite!
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 13859
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear peripatetic_soul.

Speaking as a (usual) adjunct (now interim ESL Coordinator), I'd say there's little to be "optimistic" about.

How adjuncts are treated in colleges/universities in the U.S. is shameful, and I have only disdain for the hypocritical people responsible.

Regards,
John


Last edited by johnslat on Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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esl_prof



Joined: 30 Nov 2013
Posts: 2006
Location: peyi kote solèy frèt

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 2:45 am    Post subject: Re: Adjuncting in the US Reply with quote

peripatetic_soul wrote:
Any thoughts, eslprof? You always have such optimistic, well-balanced, articulate messages of wisdom to impart. Adjuncts unite!


Thank you, PS! Unfortunately, there's little in the way of optimism regarding the plight of adjuncts. While adjuncts may make occasional small gains here or there, the general trajectory for most will continue to be towards further Walmartization of higher education.

If you're an adjunct and you (1) enjoy the work and (2) can afford to do it (e.g., you have a day job that pays well, a spouse with a reliable income, etc.), then terrific!!! Otherwise, set a timeline for how long you'll stick with it while seeking full-time teaching work. Once that timeline expires, move into Plan B which, optimally, is an alternative career track outside of college teaching altogether.

I spent nearly six years as an adjunct, the last four of which I actively sought a full-time teaching position (within a very limited geographic area) before finally landing a full-time position. Had that not worked out, I had already decided that I would continue adjuncting for one additional year while actively transitioning into Plan B.

Again, unless you have other sources of income to support yourself apart from your adjunct income, you need to have a plan to get out for the sake of your own sanity and well-being. Don't be the guy that lives at home with his aging mother for decades while waiting for his "big" break. There probably won't be one.
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peripatetic_soul



Joined: 20 Oct 2013
Posts: 296

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:19 pm    Post subject: Adjuncting in the U.S. Reply with quote

Hello,
Fortunately, I've completed 30 years of ESL/EFL teaching, but as other seasoned TEFLERs can appreciate, the more "lucrative" positions with perks were overseas. I am now "semi-retired" so I am not seeking full-time employment. I continue to teach part-time at the local college because I love it and also have the luxury of volunteering at a local animal shelter and as an ESL tutor. However, as taxes and Medicare/medigap costs increase, I may decide to retire in Ecuador. I'm not ready to abandon teaching for gardening just yet!

I hope newbies or those contemplating a career in TESL will heed the advice on this thread. They need to be aware of the reality that there are very few full-time positions at the tertiary level and most salaries are not so inviting, e.g., one university in our city pays $35,000 annually gross but instructors (with minimum MAs and some with Ph.Ds) teach split shifts which may require evenings and weekends. Health benefit packages continue to deteriorate, e.g., with huge deductibles and higher co-pays (as is now becoming the case in public school ESL where teachers must now contribute a larger % of their earnings towards state retirement).

On a positive and redeeming note, our students need us and ineffably appreciate our "multi-faceted" role in helping them to achieve their goals. Therein lies the ultimate gratification, si?
Regards,
PS
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 13859
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear

"On a positive and redeeming note, our students need us and ineffably appreciate our "multi-faceted" role in helping them to achieve their goals. Therein lies the ultimate gratification, si?"

Yes - and the ones exploiting adjuncts are well aware of this and very grateful since it makes their exploitation so much easier to maintain.

Regards,
John
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esl_prof



Joined: 30 Nov 2013
Posts: 2006
Location: peyi kote solèy frèt

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a fairly accurate description of how the U.S. academic job market functions:

http://chronicle.com/article/Academic-Bait-and-Switch-Part/126914/

Another bit of advice: If you are applying for full-time college teaching jobs in ESL, focus your efforts on community colleges rather than university-level IEPs. The former generally offer tenure-track positions and, even if they don't, you'll still have full parity with your colleagues in other disciplines (e.g., history, math, psychology, etc.). The latter typically offer 9 or 12 month renewable contracts which means significantly less job security and you do not have the rights and privileges (or salary) that come with a tenure-track faculty position.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 13859
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear esl_prof,

I haven't done any research, but, in my experience, not many community colleges offer full-time ESL jobs. Santa Fe Community College certainly doesn't, and teachers I know at some other community colleges have said the same.

Full-time ESL jobs? Few and far between, I'd say.

Regards,
John
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esl_prof



Joined: 30 Nov 2013
Posts: 2006
Location: peyi kote solèy frèt

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnslat wrote:
I haven't done any research, but, in my experience, not many community colleges offer full-time ESL jobs . . . Full-time ESL jobs? Few and far between, I'd say.


I haven't done any research either, Johnslat, but I'd agree that you may well be correct. My anecdotal experience (based on four years on the job market) is this:

A fair number of full-time community college ESL jobs are advertised in the Chronicle of Higher Education each year, mostly in places I'm not particularly interested in living--California, Texas, and Chicago.

https://chroniclevitae.com/job_search/new

And, I suspect, that many community college ESL openings never get advertised at the national level (as most simply don't have the budget to advertise nationally).

In my mid-size metropolitan city here in Flyover State, only two of the five public community colleges employ full-time ESL faculty. (Some of the others don't even have college-credit ESL programs.) In contrast, two of the major universities in town run their own IEPs, at least one of which has significantly more full-time positions. Then, of course, there are upwards towards half a dozen odd private, for profit IEPs (some of which have contracts with local universities and operate programs on their campuses) but, in many cases (though not all), those tend to pay hourly part-time instructors in lieu of full-timers and, even when full-time salary and benefited positions are available, they pay significantly less than their counterparts in the non-profit sector.

Two days ago, I saw an ad for a full-time opening at an IEP at a major state university an hour's drive down the interstate. They are offering a nine-month annually renewable contract for $9,000 per year less than the full-time tenure track offer that I received from my community college earlier this spring. And they are located in a community where the cost of living is significantly higher than what I could possibly afford to live in on the salary I was offered, let alone the salary they are offering.

Compared to the number of prospective applicants out there, yes, full-time ESL jobs are certainly few and far between. Community college jobs, at least in my community, are much better than IEP jobs . . . if you can get one. Though, of course, a full-time IEP job . . . again, if you can get one . . . is certainly better than living out one's days in adjunct purgatory.

As I said before, give yourself a timeline for landing a full-time teaching job and--if you aren't successful within, say, about three years--have a solid Plan B to fall back on. As PS has indicated, there's a great deal of gratification to be found in teaching, but ultimately it's not worth sacrificing your health and sanity for if you find yourself stuck on the adjunct track. You can find meaning and fulfillment in life on other vocational paths as well. Don't be afraid to pursue them.
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peripatetic_soul



Joined: 20 Oct 2013
Posts: 296

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:04 pm    Post subject: Adjuncting in the U.S. Reply with quote

Hey John and esl_prof,
I should clarify that I had been a single mother most of my life (now out of the nest). Because my adjunct positions afforded no benefits, I opted to become certified as a full-time public school ESL teacher as well. I worked day and night to provide my child with a stable home.
I agree with you in every respect about upper management exploiting those of us who are impassioned but the fact remains, our students will become the victims. Believe me, we protested vociferously about the admin duties (e.g., complete online training on IT security, sexual harassment and safety/hazardous waste and submit test results to your dept chair or dean, blah, blah, blah). We managed to compel upper mgmt to alter part-time contracts to include double the credit hours than in the past (when the Obama regs kicked into gear). Believe me, we're not complacent or kow-towing to the college policies, but yes, those with spouses who have cushy jobs and benefits, it falls on deaf ears.


Last edited by peripatetic_soul on Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 13859
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear peripatetic_soul,

" . . . but the fact remains, our students will become the victims."

Exactly - and the ones doing the exploiting know most of us feel that way, and are so happy we do.

Regards,
John
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rtm



Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 1003
Location: US

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

esl_prof wrote:
I haven't done any research either, Johnslat, but I'd agree that you may well be correct. My anecdotal experience (based on four years on the job market) is this:

A fair number of full-time community college ESL jobs are advertised in the Chronicle of Higher Education each year, mostly in places I'm not particularly interested in living--California, Texas, and Chicago.

https://chroniclevitae.com/job_search/new

I just checked the emails I got from HigherEdJobs this month, and counted 5 full-time ESL openings at community colleges advertised. Not too bad, really. And then, of course, there are the ones that aren't advertised as widely, like esl_prof said. Of course, like with any academic job, one often can't be picky about where one lives (or, if one is limited to a certain geographic area, one must be prepared to wait a while for an opening).
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