More adjunct misery.
The University of Memphis has given its adjuncts their first raise in three decades, from $1,500 to $2,100 per three-credit-hour course. They probably won't be able to teach more than three because then they'd be eligible for health insurance. So they'll max out at $12,600 a year.
Why don't adjuncts just quit, as a commenter (predictably) asks?
I wonder. Even if everyone who would prefer a T-T position walked away, we'd still have a good supply of people who have real jobs elsewhere and enjoy picking up a class or two on the side (like the adjunct history professor who is employed full time at an investment company). Add to that the retired professors who are so eager to stay active that they are willing to teach for free, and we don't have a lot of bargaining power for underemployed Ph.D.s.
Rio Salado College in Tempe, Arizona has no campus. All its courses are online, and the overwhelming majority of instructors are adjuncts (22 full-time faculty and over 1,300 adjunct faculty). Not only have they not been shunned and shamed, their deliberate mass adjunctification has been lauded as a strategic success, saving 27% on per-student expenditures.
It seems to me that the most effective action would come from the accreditors, but what's their motivation? Accrediting teams are made up of administrators, who may not be in a position to throw stones. And why should they? (See Rio Salado, above)
Q: Is there a way out, or are we headed toward postsecondary teaching as a hobby for people who don't need the money?