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Adjuncting in the USA

February 20, 2009

I have, again, taken Scott Jaschik to task on his recent article “Creating a National Voice for Adjuncts” .  But my snarky dismissmal (see the comments on this above link) didn’t seem adequate.

So I will elaborate.

If you are an adjunct, you need to treat it like playing in a garage band:  you need a well-paying day job in order to indulge your passion.  If you do not have this in place, I feel that you are deluding yourself.

The structure is not in place that will allow adjuncts to move out of their Untouchable position in this caste.  Institutions have melted (I hate to say evolve here) into the current position because it pays the best for them.  Farm out the overflow or the inconsistently enrolled to contingent faculty, freeing up the tenured to persue their passions.  If you are one of the few Chosen Ones, then feel complacent and safe–which I know you do–knowing that you need not worry too much except for a system-wide implosion (see California right now).

If you have “chosen” the life of a contingent faculty member, re-emamine your position.  It will NOT improve in the short run.  In fact, it may very likely choose to go away regardless of what you would desire.  You are the expendable, the booty-call of the University hook-up system.  You are the lover on the side, and when stresses arise, people will adhere to the family structure.

So, play to your passion, but ensure a more secure revenue stream–your family will appreciate it.

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