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If there is a strike for non-tenure track faculty members,.....

85bears4685bears46 Registered User Posts: 406 Member
edited March 13 in University of Chicago
I am not sure going to a lecturer's home for a seminar discussion is what I would pay $70,000 for ;)

What if the college kids really like it? Will that be a trend now?

From Chicago Maroon today:

If a strike did occur, Faculty Forward says it would not involve stopping all classes. Instead, non-tenure track faculty would host classes off-campus, covering either their normal material or teaching about labor and strikes.

“I’d turn my dining and living room into two full-sized classrooms that we’d use to hold creative writing classes all day and night,” one of the letters requesting signatures said. “That way we get the publicity we need and our students get the same class, but in a more fun environment.”

https://www.chicagomaroon.com/article/2018/3/13/non-tenure-track-faculty-strike-deal-admin-thursda/
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Replies to: If there is a strike for non-tenure track faculty members,.....

  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 4,995 Senior Member
    Lovely. Hopefully the university would have some guts and just can them all.
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 4,995 Senior Member
    Also, it's a shame we can't see who actually signed that petition. If they want the publicity why don't they make that public?
  • HydeSnarkHydeSnark Registered User Posts: 850 Member
    edited March 13
    I'd be happy to have classes in my non-tenure track and adjunct faculty's living rooms. I am positive most of my peers feel the same way.
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 4,995 Senior Member
    "Do non-tenure track and adjunct faculty not have the right to a living wage?!? Do they not deserve health benefits?!?

    If they are lacking those things they are more than welcome to go find another job. No one's forcing them to teach at UChicago.

    "Here you have a bunch of underpaid, overworked highly educated instructors offering to continue to teach their classes in alternate venues so that their students aren't losing out while still being able to make their needs/demands known to the administration, I say good on them -- I wish them luck!"

    What altruism - not. The person who wrote that said he/she wanted publicity and is willing to offer the students "more fun" in return. Parents aren't going to pay for that. Anyway that was one person - and he/she could always have hosted a class, unless there are rules prohibiting such.
  • ProfessorMom1ProfessorMom1 Registered User Posts: 366 Member
    @HydeSnark Some of my best classes, both as a student and a professor, have been in the professor's living room. ;)
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 4,995 Senior Member
    edited March 13
    "But, in the meantime, I'd urge you to try to understand the struggles of non-tenured faculty and have a bit more compassion."

    - Two of my kids are in art/design school where the MAJORITY of their faculty are non-tenured and actually go out and work as professionals in their field in addition to teaching. Nothing says UChicago non-tenure track faculty can't do the same.

    My last job was $20,000 / yr. with no benefits or security. We all make choices.
  • LoveTheBardLoveTheBard Registered User Posts: 1,962 Senior Member
    @JBStillFlying -- As to your point that "If they are lacking those things they are more than welcome to go find another job. No one's forcing them to teach at UChicago," the problem is not unique to UChicago, it's everywhere. There are fewer and fewer tenure and tenure-track jobs (according to the NYT, "tenure and tenure-track ... positions now make up only 24 percent of the academic work force, with the bulk of the teaching load shifted to adjuncts, part-timers, graduate students and full-time professors not on the tenure track."). This is a disservice to students who can't establish the same types of relationships or have the same type of mentorship/research opportunities with non-tenured and non-tenure-track faculty than they can with tenured faculty.

    Moreover, we are not discussing art/design schools or professional schools that often hire people working in the fields and out in the trenches or famous actors and directors working as adjuncts in BFA programs -- we're talking about research institutions hiring cheap labor to do the work of full-time faculty at a fraction of the pay with no benefits. It's exploitation, pure and simple.
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 4,995 Senior Member
    edited March 13
    "By telling someone to just "find another job", you acknowledge that you find their work necessary and important, but that you think the person doing it should be poor. We can't all be doctors and lawyers. Janitors and adjunct professors still deserve a living wage."

    @ski_racer, you have a heart of gold but no head for simple economics. You think that by unionizing and raising the wage you have somehow helped janitors and adjuncts? OK - you've helped the ones lucky enough to remain in the monopoly. Not the ones who will now lose their jobs nor the ones in the pipeline who won't find work at all. Open up a Principles of Micro textbook and you'll understand.

    "There are fewer and fewer tenure and tenure-track jobs (according to the NYT, "tenure and tenure-track ... positions now make up only 24 percent of the academic work force, with the bulk of the teaching load shifted to adjuncts, part-timers, graduate students and full-time professors not on the tenure track."). This is a disservice to students who can't establish the same types of relationships or have the same type of mentorship/research opportunities with non-tenured and non-tenure-track faculty than they can with tenured faculty."

    @LovetheBard - sorry, how does raising the wage and REDUCING the supply of adjuncts actually solve this problem? All you will then have are fewer tenure-track faculty AND fewer adjuncts. So fewer non-grad-student instructors overall.

    I'm not going to disagree with you on the number of tenure track faculty not keeping up with demand in the more popular majors at universities. That's a reason to expand the Econ departments and others. Departments like History and some of the humanities have a very large number of faculty given the number of students actually majoring in those subjects. If you propose that universities cut back on those departments and allocate resources over to Econ and similar to hire more tenure-track, I'm not going to disagree with that.
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 4,995 Senior Member
    BTW, @LovetheBard - there are PLENTY of tenure-track faculty at an LAC, for those students desiring those close relationships. LAC's have a great reputation for fostering those and attract great faculty who love both research AND teaching.
  • FStratfordFStratford Registered User Posts: 411 Member
    Adjunct professors are by definition, part-time professors. They teach on the side while they have full time work.

    Are adjunct professors at UChicago given teaching loads - so much - that they can not do their real job at the same time? If that is the case, they are just non-tenured professors, not adjunct.

    The economics of becoming a professor is such that non-tenured professors work their behinds off to become tenured. Out of 2 to 10 non-tenured, I am guessing, 1 would become tenured. While working, they are supposed to learn from the tenured professors by co-authoring stuff. They compete with each other for a limited number of tenured positions in the school (or in another school that they would impress). That's how a school ends up with the best tenured professors. At which point they enjoy the benefits of tenure. (those who don't end up getting tenure get a big payday working in industry... and maybe choose to be an adjunct.)

    It is not unlike becoming an Analyst at a bank - hard work, averaging pennies per hour worked - but they get the big payday once they get promoted. While working, they are supposed to learn from their Directors. It is up or out. out of so many Analysts, only one becomes a director.

    Essentially, their initial work years - are practically extended interview periods - because once you go tenured, it is permanent.

    Should the non-tenured professors get higher salaries? Maybe. But to me, this is not about fair wage. This is about people who want to change the rules of the game, for their own benefit. It's a bold move... but isn't UChicago already paying rates above their peers? What is the school's incentive to change things around? If they raise salaries more, more teachers who would consider peer universities would choose UChicago, ceteris paribus... that means many of the current non-tenured and current adjuncts could be shooting themselves in the foot by increasing the competition for the position that they currently have.

    Probably not a bad idea... with higher pay, more people would want those jobs... more applicants for those jobs would, in general, raise the quality of teaching.
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 4,995 Senior Member
    "Are adjunct professors at UChicago given teaching loads - so much - that they can not do their real job at the same time? If that is the case, they are just non-tenured professors, not adjunct."

    The union consists of permanent adjunct ie non-tenure-track. Lecturers, instructors, etc. who have PhD's but have not been offered a path to tenure at the university. While schools might have different contractural arrangements, these guys probably have something like a year-to-year renewable contract. They will be the first to go during budget-cuts.

    "Probably not a bad idea... with higher pay, more people would want those jobs... more applicants for those jobs would, in general, raise the quality of teaching."

    Pay can go up for a variety of reasons: 1) the demand curve shifts up because the university needs more adjuncts. This will increase the number of adjuncts and increase their pay. 2) Supply curve shifts back because fewer adjuncts are applying for the job. This will decrease the number of adjuncts and raise their pay. 3) Adjuncts unionize and through collective bargaining negotiate the pay to be above the market clearing wage so that supply exceeds demand. This not only creates layoffs of current adjuncts but also makes the job more attractive because the pay is higher so will attract more to the job, including those who would be "high quality". However, their chances of competing successfully for an adjunct position are smaller now because the union protects the current field. Therefore, we can't conclude that the overall quality of teaching will be higher.
  • marlowe1marlowe1 Registered User Posts: 515 Member
    There must be many reasons why young or even not so young scholars would want to work as adjuncts at these wages. I assume that non-monetary motivations must be important - either the inherent satisfaction of teaching or the prestige of doing so, especially at an elite university with gifted and eager students. Although everyone likes a higher salary, there are obviously many prepared to put up with a lesser one, perhaps because they have other means or are temperamentally suited to an ascetic existence. These motivations must be big contributors to a chronic oversupply of talent, something that would not arise in jobs with less prestige and satisfaction. This oversupply drives down remuneration for all, both the monetarily indifferent and those for whom making the necessary salary to live a full life is the main goal of employment. I wonder whether this latter group doesn't resent those of their colleagues who have brought about the oversupply situation by their relative immunity to those considerations. Are bitter words ever exchanged in the common room?
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 17,992 Senior Member
    Most of the Hum and Sosc sections at Chicago (not sure about CIv) are taught by non-tenure-track faculty who teach two sections a quarter. In university terms, that's pretty much a full-time teaching load, and it certainly precludes other full-time employment. It's not showing up for an evening seminar once a week and telling war stories about your career. Unlike tenure-track faculty, they aren't being paid to do original scholarly research . . . but if they ever want a tenure-track job, which most of them of course do, they had better be doing that.
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