Today, based on American Association of University Professors report, more than 50% of all faculties are part-time employees. Part-time faculty are often officially titled “adjunct faculty.” Adjunct faculty are classified as a part-time typically, but can be full-time, and they are paid “by the course, without benefits and so many colleges teachers lack access to health insurance,” the report stated.
Current part-time faculty Prof. Doretha Singley of the nursing department describes her job in this way: “We are part-time. We are usually on a semester-by-semester contract. …My employment is not continuous.”
She told me that she has been working at Fayetteville State University since 2013. This means at any time she can be let go; there is no guarantee that her job will be available after her contract ends each semester. That is a tremendous amount of stress and worry for anyone to have to manage. The job security is not promised for any adjunct.
According to Ms. Tonya Williams of Human Resources, the rate of pay for adjunct professors teaching three credit course hours is $2,500. If they teach online classes, they are paid an additional $250 dollars.
As of October 1, 2017, a total of 885 faculty work at FSU, according to the 2017 FSU Fact Book. The individuals that make up 333 (38%) include full and part-time faculty, administrators with faculty status, retirees on contract, visiting faculty, and coaches with faculty status. The remaining 552 (62%) were administrators or support personnel. Of the 333 faculty, 67 or 25% of the faculty is part-time.
The News & Observer reported that, 59% of UNC faculty are adjuncts.
Why does this matter?
As current students know, college is expensive. Adjunct professors may not have much time to prepare for class with their heinous schedule, sometimes split between multiple colleges and universities. Some adjuncts are not given the same resources as full-time faculty, for example, office space. Without an office, this means there is less of a connection between the student and professor, giving the student less time to understand the material before midterms or the final exam, this lowers a student’s chance of passing the course. I want to be guaranteed that I being offered the best education with the money I am putting forth towards my education. I want the same for my professors; I want them to be given the respect and the resources they require in order to help me obtain my degree.
For one, many contingent faculty members that I had the honor of interviewing are excellent teachers and scholars. According to the Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Samuel Adu-Mireku, the qualifications necessary to be considered for the position are to have 18 credit graduate hours, along with receiving a Master’s degree. This is a requirement for semesterly as well as full-time adjuncts. However, only full-time adjuncts receive benefits.
Dr. Molly Williams, an adjunct lecturer of social work confirmed this. She stated, “Adjuncts do not receive benefits, in order to receive benefits you have to be full-time. On some rare occasions, you may be afforded travel pay to attend a conference.”
What do adjuncts on campus wish people understood about being an adjunct?
Prof. Doretha Singley, part-time nursing adjunct– We may not be as available as their full-time professors. We try to make office hours available and a lot of us have other responsibilities other than teaching at the university.
Prof. Jocelyn Smith-Grey, full-time elementary education adjunct – Being an adjunct professor does not mean that you do not have the qualifications or the content knowledge to be a full-time professor. What it is, is that you don’t have the degree or you opted to take that position. There are some adjuncts that have terminal degrees. However, to teach undergraduates you have to have 15 specialty hours. For me, obtaining a terminal degree would make me highly qualified. However it does not mean that because I don’t have a terminal degree that I am less able than someone with a doctorate.
Dr. Molly Williams, part-time social work adjunct– I would hope that they realize that adjunct faculty is an asset to their department; I think they should be valued more.
What is the solution?
There aren’t readily available ones. The Chronicle of Higher Education has a project known as the Adjunct Project (https://data.chronicle.com/). This database offers a self-report that adjunct professors and other faculty at institutions can disclose data of the salary per class taught. This could possibly helpful future adjunct employees as well as students compare FSU with other colleges to best decide the best institution. Additionally, the site has data on health insurance, retirement, and working conditions that offers a comparative of how adjunct faculty is treated at any given institution. Yet, because the database is compiled by optional self-report, when I searched for FSU we currently have no data to work with.
The first step is visibility. Students should be aware of who adjunct professors are and how they contribute to the university. These adjunct professors are part of our campus community and should be treated as the