Another dot in the blogosphere?

Treating adjuncts right

Posted on: July 29, 2021

This tweet and its reply succinctly captures one conversation on how universities favour administrators over members like teaching faculty. If you follow the tweeter as I do, you know the pain that shaped the words.

If you were fair-minded, you might argue that continuity is important as an administrator or policymaker. They need to be around long enough to see things through, so “adjuctification” does not make sense.

The same principle applies to those who teach and facilitate courses. These faculty members are not street magicians that do quick tricks for a buck. As an adjunct who was once a department head at a university, I see both sides but argue more for the teaching faculty who need time to design, test, and revise their efforts.

If the argument is that time nurtures experience, then the same could be said for educators. Adjuncts, in particular, need time to imbibe or create the culture of an institution.

If the powers-that-be treat educators like hucksters, you will likely get parasites who are adept at taking quick but harmful bites. They will take and not give back.

Thankfully, not all institutions treat their full and part-time teaching staff poorly. I associate myself with one that provides regular professional development, dialogue, and appreciation events. It has a very bureaucratic administration, but it is staffed with enough people who care.

I do not think that administrators should be “adjunctified” because the good ones need to steer long term policies through. The even better ones also know that administration is supposed to support university functions and not dictate it.

Teaching and facilitating learning are core social functions of a university. Administrators need to support that. They can start by treating full-time teaching faculty and adjuncts right.

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