WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2010
So I get this email, an administrator at my university is collecting books and articles from professors for a display. They want to brag about their professors' academic accomplishments in front of the students and alumni for an upcoming event. Great! I email them, “May I participate? My book just came out and it’s been well-received.” They reply, “No, full time professors only.” WTF? Oh wait, that’s right, I’m just an adjunct. The book store sends out an email. They have a display of books written by faculty. Please let them know if we've published anything. Great! I given them some information about my book. Oops, sorry. That's not for adjuncts!
OK, I'm an adjunct. I’ve also taught every semester for the past four years and am already on the schedule not only for the rest of this year, but for the next school year as well. I’ve been a member of the department longer than a third of the full-timers. I’ve published more peer-reviewed material than all but one of the other instructors. Hell, excepting that one other professor—who does publish quite a bit, and it’s good stuff too!—I’ve published more than the rest of the department combined over the past several years. Oh wait, that’s right, I’m just an adjunct.
"But," I hear them say, "you're not part of the college community!" Really? I've gone to see my students' art shows. My wife and I have cheered them on at sporting events. We've attended their plays and I've gone to the honors society inductions and greeted my students' parents. Students come to me for letters of recommendation. I'm even the faculty adviser for a student club. Oh wait, that’s right, I’m just an adjunct.
Seriously, if the profession is going to depend on part-timers to fill the ranks of instructors, maybe, just maybe academia needs to rethink how adjuncts are treated. Call me crazy but maybe, just maybe, we’re often scholars as well……