An Adjunct Manifesto

What do you think of these demands? Are they practically answerable?

WE, AS NON-TENURED FACULTY, CALL FOR REFORM FROM WITHIN THE CURRENT SYSTEM. WE DEMAND THAT OUR ADMINISTRATORS ADOPT THESE CHANGES:

  • All hiring and firing of adjunct faculty will be handled by a non-partisan committee composed of tenured and non-tenured faculty in the same discipline, a union representative (if applicable), and a human resources staff member.
  • All adjunct faculty will be hired on a contract that is a minimum of one year and a maximum of five. No longer will adjuncts be hired by the semester or the class.
  • Tenure will be opened to all faculty. The current system treats adjunct status as a stigma and blocks advancement from within. Even in corporations, this does not align with common practice.
  • Evaluation of all faculty for tenure and promotion will be based on three components: a dossier of research and/or educational materials, teaching evaluations, and a classroom visit report from a senior member of the faculty in their discipline.
  • Governing bodies of an institution, such as departmental committees and faculty senates, will be comprised of representatives in a ratio that mirrors that of the faculty.  For instance, if adjuncts represent 77% of the total faculty at a college of university, they must account for 77% of the departmental committee appointments and faculty senate membership.
  • Courses will be assigned based on expertise. Many of us hold degrees and experience that allow us to teach courses at the intermediate and advanced level, yet because we are deemed “contingent,” we are only assigned introductory-level classes. Not only is our current system of course assignment arbitrary and unfair, but it shortchanges our institutions. By adopting this practice, our institutions will be supporting greater diversity and innovation of instruction.
  • Salaries will be based on experience in a field of study, evidence of quality teaching practices, adoption of innovation in instruction, job performance, and length of service.

Read more of the manifesto and go here to share your suggestions for revisions.

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Geoff Arnold

    Sounds eminently reasonable, which probably means that it has no chance at all of being adopted.

  • hilbert90

    Yes. One thing that is especially important that I think people outside of the academic community don’t understand is just how bad getting hired at a tenure track position is now. There are essentially no differences between the tenure track and adjunct faculty in terms of qualifications these days. It is pure random chance whether you get one or not.

    For example, my university had 900 applicants for 1 position. Obviously a bunch of those were perfectly equally excellent, but random chance and department politics and random voting weirdnesses was the only thing that got one of them the job and the others not.


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