7 thoughts on “Infographic on the Exploitation of Adjunct Faculty

  1. An excellent graphic, but it neglects one important factor: the degree to which adjuncts are stigmatized by tenured (and tenure-track) faculty. Adjuncts are typically excluded from faculty discussions that relate directly to the classes they teach because they are not on the track.

  2. This infographic packs a punch, but I’m not so certain it’s fully reliable. For one thing, the comparison with “secretaries” (and how is that defined?) is offensive. Since when and in what world do all secretaries have “great job security” and “full benefits” with a guaranteed 40-hour week? This just pits one group of workers against another. That could also be said about the comparison between tenure-track and adjunct average salaries. Where does the figure of $120,000 average salary for tenure-track faculty come from? The AAUP salary survey reports that the average salary for all ranks of full-time tenure-track faculty at all institutions nationally is $84,303. In fact, the average salary for only full professors is still below $120,000. Only in private, doctoral-granting institutions is the average $120,000. And that surely includes lots of medical faculty. The figures are here: http://www.aaup.org/sites/default/files/files/aaup-survey-table-04a.pdf

    Given this inaccuracy, I’m wondering about the reliability of other information in the graphic.

    • Good points. The numbers don’t add up either. $900 – ($750 + $35) = $115, not $10. My guess is like many infographics, its purpose is to drive traffic to the creator, which seems to be promoting online Ph.D. programs, not exactly a route to academic success.

  3. I posted this inforgraphic because I was asked to do so and because I think that its subject is very important.

    I applaud Hank and Brian for the very astute and substantive observations that they have made.

    I agree that the sponsor is suspect–especially given that online, for-profit institutions are among the most egregious exploiters of adjunct faculty.

    I also agree that some of the numbers are somewhat dubious and that some of the calculations are careless.

    And, lastly, I agree that the comparisons to secretaries and to tenure-track faculty are presented in problematic ways, in effect exaggerating the points of comparison for heightened effect.

    Initially that was all that I intended to say in this comment.

    But, having said all of that, I feel that I need to re-emphasize Hank’s initial point–that the infographic is undeniably powerful, and not just because of the cumulative effect of those distorting elements.

    Instead, it is powerful because, as most infographics do, it succinctly and vividly conveys some compelling realities that too often go largely unnoticed. It highlights what we all know is an outrageous state of affairs–the undeniable exploitation of a large group of highly educated professionals who are being compensated as if they were unskilled labor.

    Worse, all of this is occurring in academia, where the pursuit of knowledge, innovation, human excellence, social justice, and fundamental truths is supposed to create a somewhat rarefied atmosphere in which veniality and other human frailties are mitigated by a level of idealistic commitment that is seldom possible, never mind sustainable, elsewhere.

    I realize that most of us may not recognize our own careers and our own institutions in the description in the previous paragraph, but every now and again, I think that we all experience moments in which we are reminded, however briefly, of why we chose this profession.

    • Those errors make the infographic useless to people like me, though. The first thing I saw was $120k average for TT, and said, that’s BS. Easily checked number, and really dramatically wrong. So I don’t believe anything else they’re saying.

  4. Pingback: #Adjunct – Temporary – Contract – Consignment – OR! | Between Me and You

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