Sunday, January 26, 2014

Adjunct Equity Bill in Colorado House of Representatives.

A community member has sent this in:

Jesus would never
be on the tenure track.
Here's the PDF of the bill as it's currently being considered.

The Adjunct Equity Bill would help create equal pay for equal work at Colorado community colleges: adjunct instructors would be paid the same per-section compensation as full-time tenured instructors. This would significantly increase teaching compensation for adjunct instructors at community colleges, so that full-time teachers would be able to make a living wage. 

To illustrate the potential impact of this bill: the submitter was paid $1,974/section at a community college less than ten miles from a state university, where s/he was paid $3,974/section for the exact same course in the same academic year. This was less than three years ago. The average full-time 9-month faculty salary at the time was about $49,000. Assuming a full load of four sections per semester for two semesters, average full-time faculty compensation per section would have been over $6,000.

This bill would also likely indirectly impact adjunct compensation at the state universities. The argument that instructors at the state's community colleges make far less than university adjuncts make has been wielded in response to pushes for higher university adjunct pay. If community college instructors were to make a decent wage, then the universities might offer more competitive and equitable compensation as well. 

The bill is sponsored by State Representative Randy Fischer and State Senator John Kefalas, both known in the state's higher ed communities for their engagement with adjunct concerns. People who are interested in showing support for this bill should write to members of the State Affairs committee. The deadline for reporting the bill out of the first house committee is February 6. The bill will be heard on Monday, February 3rd at 1:30 pm.


  1. I'm all for increasing adjunct pay, but full-time faculty (at least at my CC) do a hell of a lot more than just teach a class and go home.

  2. This is, of course, what MLA/ADE guidelines have called for for several (many?) decades now, with no effect. I'd love to see it pass.

    And yes, service needs to be part of the picture (out of fairness, and to make sure that legislators and others realize what college professors spend their time actually doing). I'd argue that all faculty members should be doing some service, because that's how faculty governance (especially faculty governance of the curriculum) happens, but it could be tricky to require that of part-timers, who can't really be required to be on campus except when they're teaching or holding office hours (the picture might be a bit different if some people were part-timers by choice, with contracts that lasted a year or longer). In most places I've worked, faculty have an official course load higher than what they actually teach, with course releases for research and service. So, for instance, at my present institution, I teach a 4/4 load, with no service or research expectations, while my tenure-track colleagues teach 2/2 with substantial research and service expectations (or, in a few cases, 3/3 with more modest research and the same service expectations). In the local community colleges, the official load is 5/5, or perhaps even 6/6, before you take into account service (this of course makes very little sense, since their students are, on average, harder to teach, and service loads are heavy, but that's how it works, at least around here). So presumably if one were pro-rating pay without service or research expectations, one would prorate by the full-time load before service/research course releases. That would still come out as a substantial raise for most adjuncts, I'm pretty sure.

  3. Adjuncts in our system are paid at 80% of the starting TT salary, which here is $42,000 (so an adjunct with a 4/4 load averages about $4000 per section). There are steps: Associate Lecturer, Lecturer, and Senior Lecturer, which are figured by how many hours the adjunct has taught in the system, and the pay goes up ever so slightly as you gain seniority. Our system also pays full benefits if your contract is at least 50% for the semester (2 classes). I landed here as an adjunct in 2002 and was thrilled with it, because it was the first time I'd ever made a living wage as a college instructor.

    But it's wrong. I have colleagues who are excellent teachers (we are a transfer institution in a large state system) who often work at more than one school to make ends meet, and they have difficulty doing the research/publishing that would make it possible for them to be considered TT material (I know--I was one of them, teaching 6/4 or 6/6 at two places and working a summer job to keep food on the table).

    Adjuncts at my institution aren't required to do service, but of course many of them do, in the hope that they might be asked to the dance if we manage to get a tenure line. I have always been pissed that someone who is good enough to teach for us as an adjunct for many years gets NO consideration when we hire TT people. It's bullshit, in part because the people we hire often stay here for a year or two, then move on to someplace that pays better than we do.

    1. Two readers send these notes in:
      "$4000 a section? I would never complain again. I teach in Tennessee and my adjunct pay is $2190 per course. And the most sections I can get in a calendar year is 6."

      "I want to move to where Burnt Chrome is. I've been a part-timer at my large southwestern college for nearly 10 years, and I make $2250 a course, on a 2/2/2 (summer) load."

    2. I'm in a very similar system to BurntChrome. I get just over $4,200 per section, with full benefits (free healthcare, etc.) in any semester where I teach two or more classes.

      It really is amazing how much adjunct per-course remuneration varies across the country. When I was in grad school, I taught some sections at a private college for $3,300 per section. I had friends teaching at the local state university for about $2,300. This semester, I've been lucky enough to pick up a section at a local private college that pays $5,100 for a class with 12 students.

      I think that $2,000 a section is criminal.

    3. I can't find it, but I thought there was a post here or on RYS about adjunct remuneration. There was some near-Ivy that paid part-timers $8000 a class, and there some south of $2000.

    4. When I was teaching in Chicago, I was paid $1485/class. Then the adjunct faculty unionized the last year I was there, and my pay went up to $2200/class. In one of the most expensive cities in the world to live.

      If you want adjunct work in my system, you will find it. It seems like we are always hiring. But be warned: the Republicans who currently run this state are intent on starving the system of funds. I got my first raise since 2007 (1%).

      Also note: the Frozen Tundra is not for the faint of heart. Temps will get down past -30 here tonight with wind chills approaching -60.

    5. The best source of info about adjunct salaries I know of is Josh Boldt's crowdsourced Adjunct Project, which is now hosted at the Chronicle: .

      And yes, salaries vary widely. Of course, salaries for full-time faculty also vary widely (within and between/among institutions). But/and it's useful to have information.

    6. The lecturer ladder BC describes is similar to what happens where I am with instructors (though the whole "adjunct" system does not really apply to universities in the country where I work). But even as a full-timer, I try not to think about how much I make after currency conversion unless I want to weep my way through a box of tissues. (At least the cost of living is way lower than it would be back home!)

      And I second Cassandra's recommendation of Josh Boldt's work. It seems to have brought a greater sense of urgency to the whole conversation.

  4. This is a really good idea and I hope the bill passes.

  5. I'm going down to the Committee hearing of the bill tomorrow. It will be interesting to see who shows up to refute it and which of the common economic arguments they choose.

    On a side note, nice job not letting Maka Woksapa flame you all on! She almost got me but then I saw how level headed you all were. I appreciate the support