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Essential Objectives for post-FoxNews Special Report on Adjunct Crisis

learning objectives

To the Adjunct Nation:

To stay focused and prepare ourselves for mass media attention, I wanted to treat this moment no differently than I would a problem on campus. I have written essential objectives for this “course” of action. (Yeah, I just groaned too; that was an unfortunate attempt at academic humor.)

By the end of this broad national conversation about working conditions of adjuncts and the increased reliance on public services, private lending, credit cards, family, and charity, the participants will be able to discuss tactics and strategies such as:


(1) increase revenue through private and public, free market and non-profit models

(2) abandon casino styled investment strategies


(3) use state and federal grants for instructional services not administrative expansion


(4) redefine what it means to learn


(5) revolutionize social networking and the digital economy to meet student/faculty needs


(6) pay workers for their real labor hours


(7) end the contact hour lie (e.g., no professor works three hours on a course, not even the worst of the worst)


(8) transform the survival/triage tactics of a worker’s micro-economy survival tactics into sustainable economic models


(9) end the war between adjuncts and full-time colleagues with intelligence, integrity, and love — yes, love.



I look forward to continuing this conversation here and, apparently, on the Fox News Network.




1. Is it possible Fox scooped the cable competition? Networks? Or, is this just an expose on professors attempting to hold a pity party (we’re not) during a time when “real, hard working families are struggling”? I sure do hope not; that wasn’t the narrative line my interview followed.

2. Wouldn’t all of these discussions better advance student learning and national needs if administrators and full-time faculty applied to their colleges and departments the wisdom found in the illustration that begins this blog post?


About Dean RCB

Dean of Academics Lebanon College Philosophy and Integrated Liberal Arts Writer & Producer (theatre, television, film) Composer & Producer RCB lives in the Upper Valley with his wife and four boys.

20 responses to “Essential Objectives for post-FoxNews Special Report on Adjunct Crisis

  1. Pingback: Bureaucratic Waste and Oligarchic Arrogance | Adjunct Project

  2. Irene


    Thanks for looking at the video on CHE! The timing could have been better: it came out Dec. 11th during Finals, then Dec. 14th happened in Connecticut. My sister and her family live in the next town over, but as the news broke, I had no idea where the elementary school was, much less the name of the school where my niece and nephew attend (5th and 3rd grade, respectively). After that tragedy, even though my immediate family was not affected, we focused on the heart of the Advent Season. I set aside all my adjunct work and focused on my family until we celebrated the dawn of this new 2013 year. Therefore, I am finally checking up on comments on CHE and finding your links.

    As I wander your site, I’m once again deeply touched by your passion and perseverance. I commend you for all the hours you have invested into your own activism and am happy to join you in acknowledging that family matters, that we must meditate and reconnect with our inner selves. I have looked over your nine essential objectives and would love to focus on those and explore each to the fullest.

    We have exchanged private email before (I contacted you back in June, 2012). If you have lost my college email, I will try to send to you via Katy, if that is appropriate.

    I have other updates I would love to share with you, including results of an adjunct survey we conducted at my college. We got the final analysis in December as well.

    Peace and Blessings to you and your family.

    Irene Schmidt
    from Kansas

  3. Pingback: Bureaucratic Waste and Oligarchic Arrogance - Adjunct Project

  4. Pingback: Essential Objectives for post-FoxNews Special Report on Adjunct Crisis « Migrant Intellectual

  5. Reblogged this on As the Adjunctiverse Turns and commented:
    Another frontline dispatch from the Migrant Intellectual

    • I’m so glad you’re here, Vanessa.
      This is gone’get’crazy soon.
      Or not (laughing).


      • should we be selling tickets?

      • Should we be selling tickets?
        Let’s stick with the plan and play Kevin Flynn (TRON) to the corporate profiteering of the open sourced Migrant Intellectual resistance. Though, I do wonder if I should get a publicist; things are already starting to get even stranger with media contacts, press releases, “deeply concerned” editors as education publications, and “very disappointed” senior administrators in VT and NH who don’t understand how this Eagle (Scout) could talk to the Fox. (wink)

      • I noticed the email address for a media consultant. That might freak some as much as talking to infamous Faux News (as for how it differs from NYT or WaPo, I would refer questioners to GBS’s famous exchange with actress Ellen Terry). Are those “deeply concerned” editors the same previously ignored and did not return messages? I presume NH and VT admin are higher ed not local works maintenance. Best entertainment I’ve had in a while

      • press releases!? “deeply concerned” editors… and there I thought that was an ultimate oxymoron…

  6. Greg ⋅

    (from Duke’s “Ph.D. Lab” on humanities MOOCs)

      • Greg ⋅

        Well, of course (pun intended). Four classmates grading your paper does not a credit make. 🙂

        The wagons are circled. The digital natives are restless. McLuhan’s resonating interval persists. Once, again synthesis “wins” and “hybrids” of some sort do too in 10 years. Institutions, hire competent full-time faculty and pay them like professionals. Otherwise, higher education as we’ve known it for 6 centuries is likely to enter a new “dark age” (or should I say “flickering in moonlight, with much howling at that moon”).

      • In Requiem and Restitution Matthew Steven Carlos and I make the case for pronouncing death and rebuilding from late medieval models (guilds, Oxford schools, Cambridge-style universities) rather than even attempt to persist in unionization. I do, however, agree that if institutions followed y/our suggestions, you would watch a complete turnaround: revenues up, student learning increased, and salaries met (how can we increase pay when we haven’t even begun to see equitable professional salaries?)

        Why care about this structural problem, this clear instance of labor abuse? The MLA puts it this way:

        Home > Professional Resources > Surveys, Reports, and Other Documents > MLA Statement on the Use of Part-Time and Full-Time Adjunct Faculty Members
        MLA Statement on the Use of Part-Time and Full-Time Adjunct Faculty Members

        The following statement was developed by the Association of Departments of English and the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages and adopted by the MLA Executive Council in February 1994.

        The expansion of the adjunct ranks in language and literature departments over the past two decades threatens the integrity of the profession and instructional programs. The practice of hiring numerous adjunct faculty members year after year to teach courses required of large numbers of undergraduates undermines professional and educational standards and academic freedom. Although adjunct appointments can add significant dimensions to curricula and some individuals prefer to accept only adjunct appointments because of other commitments, few adjunct appointments are made for educationally sound reasons. Indeed, the primary motivation for most of these appointments is to reduce the cost of instruction.

        Adjunct faculty members fall into two groups: part-time instructors and non-tenure-track full-time instructors. The first group includes both instructors who are clearly temporary members of a department and instructors who teach from year to year and become virtually permanent. Members of the second group have full teaching loads but, as non-tenure-track faculty members, lack the institutional commitment given to their tenure-track colleagues. Graduate students are distinct from both groups.

        The conditions under which most adjunct teachers are employed define them as nonprofessionals. Often they are hired quickly, as last-minute replacements. They receive little recognition or respect for their contributions to their departments; almost always they are paid inequitably and receive no fringe benefits.

        Excessive reliance on an adjunct faculty can damage individual faculty members, students, institutions, and the profession. For the sake of an institution’s economic welfare, adjunct faculty members are often denied the security that adequate salary, health insurance, and professional status can provide. The institution, in turn, suffers through the creation of a two-tiered system in which faculty members have different responsibilities and expectations.//

        They are 100% correct.
        The warnings were ignored.
        And here we are.


        27-32% labor cost is how restaurants calculate labor overhead.
        25 students paying $1000 a course = $25,000 per course section.
        Now, do the math.
        That’s where the conversation starts.
        Slightly below MLA recommendations for adjunct salaries, BTW.

    • Rob, do you honestly that the MLA ever intended or expected anyone to heed, let alone act on, warnings?

      • I cannot know intent; I cannot know influence. All I can work off of are statements and the discourse created around those statements. They took the position, made the recommendations, and most institutions ignored them. Anything else is just conjecture. At some point, a discourse analysis will more than likely reveal shaky ethics and a dismal record of supporting their own recommendations. Furthermore, it’s hard to say whether the MLA and other professional organizations are even fit to make these recommendations given how they are all run by the tenured professors and academic deans who allow indentured labor to continue at colleges and universities around the country.

      • What a very long way of saying, “I can’t say for sure but probably not.” We may not “know” (whatever that means) intent or influence anymore than we can know ourselves or another, but indifference and neglect manifested in outcomes are hard to mistake. And if the report is bang on, then they cannot even plead ignorance when ma’at places that feather on the scale


      • //What a very long way of saying, “I can’t say for sure but probably not.” We may not “know” (whatever that means) intent or influence anymore than we can know ourselves or another, but indifference and neglect manifested in outcomes are hard to mistake. And if the report is bang on, then they cannot even plead ignorance when ma’at places that feather on the scale//

        It’s a precise description of how I would rather approach the problem of institutional “indifference and neglect.” And sometimes it’s important to open up the conversation rather than rattle off talking points that somehow you or I or others have decided are the only way to discuss this problem. There’s no way of bringing in more voices if we don’t engage in intellectual discourse which sometimes takes more space than the soundbites deployed by both sides, myself included.

      • well, she said, somewhat puzzled but unrepentent, that’s what I’ve been doing all along for ever so long, best I stop dawdling and get back to it


  7. Greg ⋅

    MOOC development will continue to now rapidly end-run face-to-face higher education instruction, leaving brick-and-mortar institutions in developed nations with buildings comparable to the empty mill buildings found all over New England now. Knowing Fox’s political agenda, we’ll see an attempt at just what you’ve anticipated, a portrayal of unhappy adjuncts as revisionist reactionaries of the (now old) New Left.
    My answer to your question 2. here is “yes,” and those that do will survive in the new “MOOC world,” while those that don’t, won’t. Any disagreements? Time will tell….

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