Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Topic: Non-tenured Facuty in Teaching Writing

10-second review: The number of non-tenured, adjunct faculty in the teaching of writing at the college level is growing enormously. They are paid practically nothing. They have no benefits. They feel isolated from the institutions that employ them. They have little relationship with the tenured faculty. With such low morale on the part of the adjunct faculty, the students must be affected.

Title: “Re(en)visioning the September 2009 Issue of College Composition and Communication.”  Pearl Pang. College Composition and Communication (September 2010), A13.

Quote: “…articles arguing for changes to improve the economic and institutional role of contingent faculty continue to make news.”

Quote: “The American Association of University Professors (AAUP), in its unflagging support of contingent faculty, constantly publishes statements and recommendations based on research. With all this publishing activity the effects of contingency on our institutions, students, and faculty are no longer news. Yet all of this research, all these articles and mandates, falls on deaf ears. Nothing is done. So the more I read, the more I feel hopeless and powerless. So much so that much of the agency I might have felt as a teacher is slowly eroding, to the point that it affects how I feel even in the classroom, even while I’m teaching.”

Quote: “We’ve been defined over and over again, in terms of what we lack: position, pay, agency, insurance, security, office space, office hours, etc.”

Comment: That’s the problem and nobody does anything about it.

I was an adjunct teacher of composition at Delaware County Community College, Media, Pa. I was paid a pittance for what amounted to a full-time teaching position with two and occasionally three courses.

In an assembly of adjuncts, I heard an administrator at Delaware County Community College discuss the future of the community college. He explained that with the number of adjunct faculty available, and a very low pay scale, the college could continue to offer low tuition to the students—on the backs of the adjunct faculty. [He did not say the latter. I did. RayS.]

I quit.

I could afford to. I was retired from a public school. The number of adjunct teachers who could not quit, who strung together part-time positions at several colleges, in order to make ends meet, at very low pay and no benefits, were many. Their low morale has to affect the quality of teaching for students. RayS.

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