Tuesday, February 3, 2015


  1. Ooh, ooh, can I play?

    How do you know they're adjuncts?

    They hold office hours in the parking lot.

    (Actual response from department staff on my very first day of teaching, when I asked, "Where do we meet with students if they have questions after class?"

    1. Or, from a friend's recent experience:

      They're the ones who have to sign up well in advance for their rationed (one per day on campus) hours in one of the few shared adjunct offices -- and otherwise have no college-provided access to a computer (so if, for instance, you drop the laptop you've been dragging around, and need a week or two to replace or repair it, the solution for keeping up is *not* to spend more time on campus. De facto, you're expected to provide your own tools.)

      Somebody needs to do some sort of conceptual piece/art installation that compares the amount of space on campus officially allocated to adjuncts with the amount of the basic work of the college they/we do.

  2. Sadly, this is about how many of the friends who have college-age or approaching-college-age kids seem to have reacted to what they've learned from me about trends in higher ed: they know that the growth in use of adjuncts is a problem, so they're determined to find a school that doesn't use/exploit adjuncts for their own offspring.

    Upside: this probably leads to an increase in questions about adjunctification on college tours. Downside: that undoubtedly leads to an increase in deception (direct or indirect) by people leading college tours (I'm hearing that it's pretty common these days to hear either "you won't be taught by adjuncts here' or "you won't be taught by grad students here" on tours; the trick is that few if any institutions can say both. Of course, tour guides at my grad institution used to use the "no grad TAs" line, which was always amusing to hear as I crossed the quad on my way to TAing a class. That was over 20 years ago, so some parts of the situation aren't exactly new).

  3. The adjunct is one stuffing crap into a locker and holding court at a table next to the elevator mechanical room (I am grateful to have a locker & and table). Or the one without an office to leave crap, thus said adjunct has a rolling office in his or her car.

  4. How do you know if they're adjuncts?

    Complain that the syllabus is not printed on recycled paper and then watch the dean bend over backwards to appease you.

  5. Or just check the number/function of the course. If the level is 100/200 (or 1000/2000 in some systems), and/or it fulfills a distribution requirement (and/or, in larger departments, is a required intro-level course for the major), the person in front of the room is probably contingent faculty of some type. If it's a small senior- or grad-level seminar, (s)he is probably tenure-track (or an adjunct of the old-fashioned kind administrators love to talk about: a retired or full-time-employed professional sharing his/her expertise through a class or two). For courses in between, it's a bit harder to tell, but the bottom line is that more and more of the actual undergrad teaching is being done by contingent faculty.