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'The Great Shame of Our Profession' How the humanities survive on exploitation

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Replies to: 'The Great Shame of Our Profession' How the humanities survive on exploitation

  • barronsbarrons Registered User Posts: 24,353 Senior Member
    edited February 14
    I think many firms are highly reluctant to hire a PhD for some job doing analysis. Overqualified is usually a quick ticket to File 13 for any applicant. Nobody wants some settler hanging around.
    And have you seen the current academic jargon?? Impenetrable..
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 57,162 Senior Member
    MassDaD68 wrote:
    Another thing that I find refreshing about adjunct teachers is that they bring current first hand business knowledge to the classroom. I would think the same would be true to computer teachers. Who the heck wants a tenured computer teacher? I want someone on the cutting edge of technology. Not some guy who will be teaching me some ancient computer language that is barely used anymore. Great if you got a researcher in the field, but honestly how many of them are realistically available to students?

    Good CS departments treat computer languages as tools, not primary subjects. So they will use whatever is suitable for the subject being taught (old or new). Students who use various computer languages as needed for the tasks at hand can easily adapt to whatever new ones they encounter in the future.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 6,986 Senior Member
    I took an online English class and one week, the professor posted an incomplete poem, that we were assigned to write about. I wrote her and asked if she could sent the rest of it.

    Two weeks later, well past the paper deadline, she answered me and apologized. She told me she was an adjunct, had many many students in many classes so she could make ends meet, that she had not had time to send the rest of the poem, and that she was going on food stamps.

    For students, this kind of situation affects the quality of classes, frankly. I felt sympathy for her but at the same time, it took a lot for me to scrape up the money for the class and I wanted better teaching, something not possible when the adjunct is stretched so thin just to have enough to eat.
  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 Registered User Posts: 5,525 Senior Member
    There is no guarantee that you would have "better teaching" with a tenure-track faculty, unfortunately.
  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 351 Member
    You wonder why all the adjuncts stick around. It seems like many of them could do a lot better taking a job in industry and by the time many had spent up to a decade in grad school, you would think they would have some understanding of the academic job market.
  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN Registered User Posts: 2,042 Senior Member
    edited February 15
    Imagine if colleges paid adjuncts significantly more than $3000 per class. The problem is that even more people would want these jobs! As the article points out, the main "problem" with adjuncts is that there are too many of them as PhD programs fail to limit their enrollment when their students are having difficulty getting jobs. If adjuncts were rare, their salaries might be much higher. The excess supply of humanities PhDs has been with us for decades if not forever. Even in our (non-humanities) PhD program, we try to explain to students that the PhD job market should be considered a national market but there are many students who want to remain in the area and there are not good jobs for all of them in our city.
  • cobratcobrat Registered User Posts: 10,895 Senior Member
    edited February 15
    Imagine if colleges paid adjuncts significantly more than $3000 per class. The problem is that even more people would want these jobs! As the article points out, the main "problem" with adjuncts is that there are too many of them as PhD programs fail to limit their enrollment when their students are having difficulty getting jobs. If adjuncts were rare, their salaries might be much higher. The excess supply of humanities PhDs has been with us for decades if not forever. Even in our (non-humanities) PhD program, we try to explain to students that the PhD job market should be considered a national market but there are many students who want to remain in the area and there are not good jobs for all of them in our city.

    There's also the issue that there are still many departments and some Profs, especially older ones who started their careers in a much rosier market who fail to acknowledge/grasp this reality or worse, give misleading statistics about tenure-track prospects.

    Universities have strong incentive to lie/mislead prospective grad students as grad students are a great source of cheap labor in the form of TAs/RAs.

    This was one reason why back when I was an undergrad, a few older college alums who were then enrolled in elite PhD programs have joked about how some subfields* have exceedingly easy(For competitive PhD programs) because they have a shortage of TAs to fill recitation/lower division course lecturer positions.

    However, forget about getting a tenure-track position in those subfields because they are overwhelmingly flooded with a glut of graduating PhD students coming onto the market and a decade or two worth of PhD graduates who failed to gain a tenure track position or failed to get tenure and had to start over at another institution.

    *I.e. Victorian Literature, Elite US Politics, etc.
  • LOUKYDADLOUKYDAD Registered User Posts: 387 Member
    Demonizing the schools is a silly notion. Blame a cruelly efficient market.
  • chzbrgrchzbrgr Registered User Posts: 78 Junior Member
    @LOUKYDAD I agree to some extent, but these schools are charities (non-profits) and are given enormous benefits and subsidies by society. We should expect more of them.
  • LOUKYDADLOUKYDAD Registered User Posts: 387 Member
    Those benefits and subsidies are bestowed to benefit students and ultimately society, not humanities phds.
  • WhataProcessWhataProcess Registered User Posts: 484 Member
    edited February 15
    I don't think it is generally in the students' interest (undergraduates) to have 1/2-to-2/3 of the 'faculty' as part-time.

    While I understand that some adjuncts have a lot to offer in their field as experts, etc, I believe that many are not available to students to the extent FT faculty are, and don't contribute as much to campus culture.
    Perhaps the field of study (e.g. business) is relevant, but not applicable to my family. YMMV.
    As said above, it's a question to ask if you are considering a school with a high percentage of PT faculty.

    PT faculty contribute to the student:faculty ratio (at a rate of 2-3/FTE).

    Consider two schools, each with a 10:1 ratio.
    One has 15% of faculty as PT; the other has 60% of the faculty PT.
    IMO, the school with the lower percent of PT faculty is likely to offer more faculty access and interaction, which can be important to an undergraduate experience.
  • HRSMomHRSMom Registered User Posts: 3,512 Senior Member
    What does $3000 a course end up being in hourly pay? Not familiar with the workload.

    In my business ppl sometimes do this, but it is hard to get these positions, even for little pay, as there are many folks to choose from. I always wanted to do it. I'm far too busy at my day job to do it now, but maybe later as I slow down a bit. Interesting thread bc I know very little about this!
  • barronsbarrons Registered User Posts: 24,353 Senior Member
    I'd guess around $10-$25/hr depending on exp. The more you do a class the less prep time you need. 1st time would be at low end at best. In class about 50 hours. Prep time at least 50 hours. Grading and other related another 25-50 hours.
    But some schools pay around $5k per class. That's more like it.
  • socalmom007socalmom007 Registered User Posts: 550 Member
    As a high school teacher who has frequently taught community college classes over the years, I can confirm that these numbers are accurate. The typical rate of pay is $50-60 a class hour, no pay for office hours, prep, grading, etc... As someone who is married, my income falls subject to my husband's income tax rate... I can't afford to teach these community college classes. My childcare, transportation, time spent, and other costs mean I'm actually losing money over the course of a semester. It's a bad situation for sure.
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