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Jul 21, 2009 1:28 pm


All about Adjuncts



The American Association of University Professors (not my favorite organization, I admit) has just posted a sizeable article about adjunct or contingent faculty. It's not about how to organize them (one of the AAUP's apparent goals) but rather a solid analytical description of who they are.

James Monks, an economist at the University of Richmond, has parsed the figures in the 2004 Department of Education study of part-time faculty. His major conclusion is that you can't make easy generalizations. For example, only 35 percent of part-time faculty want full-time jobs at the institution where they are teaching.

Of this group, 68 percent do not have Ph.D.s (or the first professional degree). Thus, the image of adjunct faculty as Ph.D.-holding tenure-track wannabes is somewhat exaggerated. Those who lack a Ph.D. but still want a full-time position do fit the stereotype, however: There are slightly more women than men in this group, they are youngish compared to other groups (44 years old on average), and they are"disproportionately" in the fields of visual or performing arts or English.

And yes, there is a relatively small group of Ph.D. holders who seek full-time work at their institutions, too. They represent 19 percent of the 35 percent of part-timers who want to work full-time.

All in all, Monks' paper is a valuable contribution from AAUP, I think.


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Mark Brady - 7/21/2009

Interesting article, and all the more so to me since I am an adjunct. The comments are worth reading.

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