- What's wrong with the current crop of undergrad students?
They're entitled, egotistical, fragile and have no skills to determine their own levels of expertise or success, so are completely extrinsically motivated.
- What's wrong with the current state of higher education in America?
People think that education is a right rather than something they earn.
- What could regular faculty do locally to improve things?
They should preach social justice for themselves and their part-time faculty who are living below the poverty line. Also: stop wanting to be liked and do the job of passing only people who have mastered the material. Sometimes Admin override our decisions, in which case, we aren't the ones passing students, but the evil Admin are, but I hear so often of faculty who simply cave in to students' bullying and requests to pass a class simply because it sucks to be hated and is easier to be nice.
- What could part-time faculty do to not only improve their working conditions, but also the fate of our students?
They could continue to petition for better working conditions by negotiating with faculty to support them. They're in the least powerful position on campus, so I don't expect there's much they CAN do, beyond finding a chair who is sympathetic to their woes.