Jan 19 Written by 

Being an Adjunct Is Not A Problem

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I’m an adjunct professor. Always have been. A talented creative-writing professor, I enjoy what I do and helping students and writers, and won’t give it up. Adjuncts are now 75 percent of the university teaching workforce. Who are the rest? The Chronicle of Higher Education says 17 percent of faculty members have tenure, and 8 percent are tenure-eligible.

On the issue of tenure I’m neutral; it has pluses and minuses. But really it’s moot, because there’s no chance of this issue arising among the adjuncts, the majority. I witnessed tenure-track hiring in action: “But he doesn’t have a book.” “He has a book but it didn’t win a prize.” “He has a book and it won a prize but his book didn’t cite my research.” “He has a book and it won a prize and cited my research but one of our goals is to diversify our faculty.” It all finally came down to skin color, even the skin shade, sometimes the shape; it really did.

While universities thus continue to occupy themselves, while their universe shrinks to a star system, adjuncts -- let's call ourselves "faculty" -- feed those hungry to learn. It’s one reason adjuncts are hired; universities need someone to serve their students. We might not be the stars. It’s even been said we’re like shadows. Yet we shadows cast the majority of light.


1100 Last modified on Monday, 03 November 2014
Catherine Rankovic

Writer, with 30+ years' writing and publishing experience, 20+ years' teaching experience. Last book read: Mrs. Lincoln by Catherine Clinton.