Editorial: Reduce adjuncts, increase full-time faculty

By Brian Loschiavo
March 20, 2010

At Cabrini College and colleges and universities across the nation there are two different types of professors – full-time and part-time. The Loquitur editorial staff believes that part-time, also called adjunct, professors deserve more money. Loquitur believes that our administration needs to reduce the number of adjuncts and increase the number of fulltime professors to benefit its students.

Tenured professors are professors who have contracts that, after seven years of probation, prevent them from being terminated without just cause and usually teach full-time. Adjunct professors are usually part-time and work elsewhere. Full-time and tenured professors also are paid more than adjuncts and have benefits, job security and pensions. These are all work conditions that adjunct faculty do not have.

At Cabrini there are 119 adjuncts teaching at the undergraduate level and 135 teaching at the graduate level. We have 70 total full-time tenured professors, 30 of whom are tenured. Adjuncts get paid around $1,900 and students pay $1,365 per course. It doesn’t take a math major to see how much the college benefits financially from hiring part-time faculty. If there are a total of 254 adjuncts teaching at Cabrini, then where is all of the money going that we pay for tuition? For example, if an adjunct is paid $3,800 for teaching two courses at $1,900 during a semester and teaches from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and prepares for eight hours on another day, that’s 14 hours of work a week.

Multiplied by 15 weeks that’s 210 hours or $9.04 per hour. At this rate they could be working a parttime job anywhere doing less work.

The number of full-time professors is dwindling.

According to The New York Times 27 percent of instructors today are full-time tenured or tenured–track professors compared to 75 percent in 1960.

The issue is part of a trend in higher education where colleges have attempted to save money by making cuts to their faculty pay rates.

Some might argue that adjuncts are just bona fide instructors and maybe that they are less credible than a full-time tenured professor. Think about all of the professors that you have had here at Cabrini.

Have some of your courses taught by adjuncts been more useful? Have they been taught better than by a tenured professor? This isn’t saying that either one is better than the other, but there are many cases where the salaries of one of the groups can be questioned.

Adjuncts are, after all, freelance teachers who are teaching classes on the side. But before we write them off think of all the good things about these professors.

Adjuncts are usually practicing in their respective field. This means that they should be up to date on the latest information, techniques and happenings in the field.

Compare this to a tenured professor whose only job is in the classroom, especially those who have been out of the field for a long time or have never had the real-life experience that adjuncts have had.

Tenured professors may have lost touch with on-the-job experience and have resorted to teaching from a textbook. An adjunct also may be able to help with networking within the industry. On the other hand, full-time faculty can be dedicated full-time to students.

We know that schools have to pay full-time professors what they are worth or they will go elsewhere. Most adjuncts receive their main income from another job and may not necessarily demand a higher salary, but they still deserve more in terms of finances, especially considering the cost of tuition.

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Brian Loschiavo

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