The Abuse and Exploitation of the ‘New Working Class’

Colleges are hiring more ‘adjunct’ professors

By Bill Schackner

Beaver County Blue via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

April 5, 2013 – Adam Davis calls it his “corner office.”

Actually, it’s the corner of a hallway at the Community College of Allegheny County, where Mr. Davis, an adjunct science professor, teaches without the benefit of an office.

Students can get extra help outside class if they don’t mind finding him and standing in an out-of-the-way section of a corridor that is quieter than meeting in the cafeteria but hard to find. “It doesn’t go anywhere,” Mr. Davis said of the corridor.

He acknowledges that the same could be said for his career. After all, the 34-year-old professor ekes out a living teaching eight classes this semester on three different campuses with no long-term prospects for health insurance or a retirement plan. “The metaphor doesn’t escape me,” he said.

The struggles of adjuncts such as Mr. Davis usually play out largely unnoticed on campuses. But starting today, their stories take center stage at a three-day conference organized by the United Steelworkers aimed at drawing attention to what has been dubbed the new campus majority: temporary instructors.

They are hired at low pay without hope of tenure or the academic freedom protections that go with it. Continue reading The Abuse and Exploitation of the ‘New Working Class’

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