Dear AWC community,
I recently took a job supervising a successful online math program. I am a professor for on-campus classes and this is my first involvement in online courses. We currently employ adjuncts, giving them one or two classes ($2500 each) every eight week term (six terms per year) but it's not guaranteed work. They are good instructors and I wish I could provide more courses or compensation for them. Most teach elsewhere to get by.
Our online college dean recently brought up the idea of inviting a few of the adjuncts to be full time instructors (non-tenure track) who would teach four classes each term guaranteed with the idea that this arrangement enables them to make a good living just teaching for us. The pay per class would be comparable to what they make now but we would add some service duties, similar to the service provided by other full time faculty. The program chairs discussed what would be best for adjuncts at length and fell into two camps:
- No, this would cause us to hire fewer adjuncts and they all need the work.
- Yes, this helps a few adjuncts get the type of job they deserve.
We debated other factors as well but these were the two attitudes that are relevant to adjunct needs and wants. The thing is, nobody in the room was or had been an adjunct. How would we know what was best?
That's where you come in. Set aside the idea of paying everybody lots more money, giving them tenure, candy raining down from the sky, and other impossibilities. Take it as a given that we treat them with respect both as talented educators and human beings because I think we do that already.
What would be best for adjuncts?