Phi Beta Cons

Adjuncts Alarmed over USC Job Posting

Adjunct faculty typically earn a fraction of what their tenure-track colleagues earn, and enjoy far fewer benefits. It is not uncommon for adjunct professors to teach at two or more universities at a time in order to make a living. Consequently, the University of Southern California riled some feathers recently when it posted a job for an adjunct faculty position — with a stipulation that the person taking the job would be prevented from teaching anywhere else.

Many adjuncts already feel like unloved stepchildren in the academic family. Some of them view the USC job posting as a slap in the face.

Maria Maisto, the president of the New Faculty Majority, a coalition of non-tenure-track faculty members, said, “I can’t see how it can be ethical for them to say what an adjunct can or cannot do to make a living.”

I’d be curious what some of our readers who work in academia think of this. For me, what is most interesting is the glaring “inequality” between tenure- and non-tenure-track faculty. With so many compassionate liberals running our institutions of higher learning, you’d think university leaders would be doing all they can to end unequal treatment and unequal pay.

Adjunct faculty are truly “the 99 percent” of the academic world. Is it hypocritical for academic labor unions to protect the sky-high pay of tenured faculty and yet do so little for beleaguered adjuncts?

Click here for more on the USC scuffle.

(Update: By way of a temporary brain-freeze/mis-type, I originally misidentified the school that posted the job as the University of South Carolina. I meant the University of Southern California (commonly known as “USC” as I put it elsewhere in the post.) Sorry about the error. We’re talking about Trojans here, not Gamecocks.)

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