Forget About Teaching, Or Unionize, Studies Show

by Whitney Kimball on June 12, 2013 Newswire

John Baldessari receiving honorary Doctorate at CCA (Image courtesy of

MFA students enrolled in “teaching schools” aiming for a tenure track, might want to adjust their career goals. Online Colleges has researched the effects on budget cuts on employment practices, and they found that tenure is “becoming so rare it’s almost mythical.” Now, they write that adjuncts make up three quarters of university instructors, and just one third of professors are eligible for tenure. Compare this with 1969 statistics, wherein full-time professors made up 78 percent of the teaching force.

The piece draws attention to the reality that most college professors are underpaid, and many are living below the poverty line (see The Homeless Adjunct). “Since 2007, the number of Americans with a master’s degree or higher who use public assistance programs has doubled, and it’s no secret that many of these downtrodden by highly educated individuals work as adjuncts,” writes the Online Colleges staff, citing a Chronicle of Higher Education exposé “The Ph.D. Now Comes With Food Stamps.” They report that 54% of adjuncts are picking up the extra hours at other universities, so they’re basically working the same or more hours with no benefits and no job security, and apt to start on short notice.

Obamacare was at least supposed to get people some health care, but according to Inside Higher Ed, many colleges are preemptively cutting adjunct hours to get around that. Contractors are required to work at least 30 hours a week to qualify for Obamacare.

There is one silver lining in all of this for adjuncts; when your silent majority is highly educated and underpaid, it makes it a lot easier to unionize.

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