One for the Adjuncts

Adjunct trouble at Columbia College; interesting to read in light of the upcoming CCCLOC adjunct union negotiations at CCC.

Check it:

Though she had been at Columbia since 1995, often teaching two or three courses each semester, her schedule of classes had been whittled down from three to one, without explanation, despite what she and colleagues described as positive-to-glowing evaluations.

Just as troubling, the number of students in her remaining class increased without any corresponding raise, she said. If current patterns continue for the remainder of the year, Wolfson’s annual pay from the college will shrink from $28,000 to $9,000, she said.

When Wolfson brought her concerns to her union, the Part-time Faculty Association (which belongs to the Illinois Education Association, which is part of the National Education Association), she learned that as many as a dozen part-time faculty members in her department, arts, entertainment and media management, reported similar situations. An adjunct from the history, humanities and social science department estimates that 20 part-time faculty members, all of whom, like Wolfson, were at the top of the salary scale, lost courses this semester.

Campus-wide, as many as 100 adjunct faculty members, many of them with 15 to 20 years of service, have had their course loads reduced, often without notice, with sections either canceled or staffed instead by younger and less expensive teachers, according to the union.

And then there’s this little bit of demoralizing numeration down toward the end:

The union came into being in 1998 over the objections of the administration at that time, which has since turned over. When it was launched, the union’s chief goal was to achieve what once seemed unthinkable — getting paid $3,000 per course. The salary scale now ranges from $3,756 per class, after a member joins the union in his or her second semester of teaching, to $4,770 at the top of the scale.

When I taught my first class at Columbia in 2000, I got a little over $2000 for the course, and $1300 for an equivalent course at HWC. In the ten years since, their adjunct pay at the bottom of the scale has nearly doubled, while ours has increased about $200. Yes, they are private and we are public, but…well…you know the rest…