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View Diary: Part-time faculty pay reaching poverty level (308 comments)

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  •  With all due respect... (8+ / 0-)

    that's bullshit, and patronizing bullshit at that.

    I don't give a flying fuck about what's best for the system. What I do care about -- passionately -- is what's best for my kids. My classes are the first ones filled and wait-listed every semester (and music theory is not one of the more "popular" courses in our department).

    If all I cared about was money, I'd still be doing consulting in the "real world," where I provided project management services to Ford Motor Company at about twice the income I presently make from my four part-time jobs, of which adjuncting is merely one.

    It's not about the money. It's not about the system. Fuck the system. It's about the kids, and then about respecting the folks who choose to teach them.

    (Full disclosure: I'm the guy PK referenced, supra.)

    In times like these, we cannot make too much music.

    by ProvokingMeaning on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 08:32:38 AM PDT

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    •  It may not be *working* (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ojibwa, Nespolo

      and the intent may not even be what I speculated. But, without knowing the specifics of your case, the theory I put forward is broadly speaking in the interest of college teachers at all levels and it's in the kids' interest—if it is followed through and fought for. Saying "we need to fight for a system that prioritizes full-time, long-term work over part-time contingent labor" helps workers and it helps students, as students as well as in their future professional lives.

      Now, if that's not what's happening, that's shitty. If reliance on part-time work continues to grow at your institution in a way that's also bad for the individual workers, that's shitty. And it's not just in the interest of the part-timers and their union but of the tenure-track faculty and theirs to push for something better. If your local isn't doing that, well, who's in charge? Is there a way to get good people onto its board or as officers and try to change how it's operating?

      But it's neither condescending nor bullshit to say that it's preferable to try to get a system where people like you get full-time long-term jobs, not to push for a system where people like you get 75% time contingent jobs rather than being stuck below 50%.

    •  Also, if you're saying you don't give a fuck (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      progressivist

      about what's best for the system, you're coming awfully close to saying you don't give a fuck about students beyond the ones right in front of you.

      Ok, making a specific small change to make your classes more available would give that set of students a better classroom experience. Great. But changing the system to rely less on part-time, contingent labor would replicate that by dozens of teachers. I get that your position and your students are really important to you. But shouldn't we be looking to change things more broadly than that?

      •  None of us is saying that hiring more part-timers (0+ / 0-)

        is good for the students. I think it's easy and fair to stipulate that.

        However, I'm not convinced that you have walked back your position that the way things are now--in this particular case, where there is a two-tiered system even among adjuncts--is a good thing for the students, either, and that it can be counted on to make things better for students (along with those who teach them.) This situation is far from uncommon, and in most cases I know, the two-tier system is actually reified by the presence of a two LOCAL system as well. Perhaps that's merely the law of unintended consequences in operation, but I tend to be more cynical than that.

        The FACE project of AFT is roundly disliked by all the part-timers I know, precisely because it makes no real provisions for protecting current part-time adjuncts and for moving them into these theoretically available full-time jobs. Thus, the two-tiered locals have different and somewhat incompatible interests. Barbara Bowen, PSC/CUNY pres, admitted as much to me a few AFT conventions ago.

        That's the core issue to which I responded: Ojibwa's lament that "the union" (in his case and mine, the AFT) is not as much of a natural ally as one would have hoped and expected. To be even more direct, this disillusionment is a dirty secret among those of us who have done union work. It is a really imperfect system that does not do well in evening out inequalities within its own ranks at any given institution.

        Getting involved in the politics of the local is important, I agree. But it is a very, very long-term project that few have the stamina to undertake; it also requires like-minded allies in the other local to make things work.

        Please stop by my tribute diary, RIP alliedoc, so that the messages to her family can include yours.

        by peregrine kate on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 12:16:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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