Adjuncts free from many commitments

NW Staff and NW Staff

The April 19, 2007 article on adjunct faculty raises many important points. Adjuncts are a fact of life in higher education and there are many terrific ones at NMU. However, I must take issue with a couple comments in the article.

First, the comment that “You’re working almost as hard as a full-time professor” needs to be qualified. Yes, at an eleven credit load, but when you only consider teaching. The adjuncts employed in my department are just responsible for teaching.

Unlike full-time faculty, they are free from the time-consuming and important job of having to advise majors. Furthermore, they are not required to serve on university, college or departmental committees; participate in community service; keep office hours; or engage in professional development such as research, publishing, and conference presentations.

Full-time faculty must also prepare an annual evaluation of their overall performance in terms of teaching, service and professional development and document everything. Our adjuncts are not required to do so. True, adjuncts are paid less, but have far fewer responsibilities than full-time faculty.

Second, while this may not be the case in all departments, many adjuncts also hold full time jobs in the community and teach for the supplemental income. Not all adjuncts are living on their part-time teaching salaries as the article seems to imply.

Finally, some fields in academics offer more opportunities for aspiring professors than others. Individuals seeking tenure track positions in the humanities and some social sciences for instance are often faced with few openings that attract many hundreds of applicants.

I believe it’s critical for those considering an academic career in high education to realistically look at the nature of the job market before committing to that doctoral program.

Dr. Greg Warchol

Associate Professor and acting Department Head, criminal justice