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Adjuncts are the Wal-Mart employee university equivalent

April 16, 2009
A protest in Utah against Wal-Mart
Image via Wikipedia

Burnt Out Adjunct has a post on how the part-timers were profiled in Inside HIgher Ed, and part-time faculty’s satisfaction levels were way down.

Really, is it a surprise how little satisfaction adjuncts may take in their work?Adjuncts of the world are the equivalent of the secret industrialized immigrant labor pool, the academic peanut factory workers, brought in on substandard wages with no hope of any working rights–the veritable Educational Wal-Mart Adjuncts, or those that qualify for medicaid while working in  higher ed.  If adjuncts are the part-time Wal-Mart employees, complete with labor disputes and gender inequities in promotion, why does no one in the press champion for the adjunct?  Can we get rid of Wal-Mart?  I don’t know–can we get rid of the adjunct position?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2009 8:46 pm

    I agree — I’ve compared adjuncting to being an academic migrant worker.

    The problem is that there is little sympathy for folks with MAs and Ph.D.s…. the job of college teaching gets high ratings on job satisfaction surveys — because they ask the tenured folks — and most people (students included) don’t know the difference between full-time faculty and adjuncts.

    • brokeharvardgrad permalink*
      April 17, 2009 3:13 pm

      Is there much sympathy for the random Wal-Mart worker? I think that culturally there is a lot less sympathy for the worker overall. It tends to go that direction in a bad economy. I think you are right about the academic migrant worker too, because they are invisible, below the radar and commonly mistreated. Good feedback!

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