With all the crises facing folks these days, some may wonder about why the hell are we talking about Jill Biden and her title as a doctor?
The Wall Street Journal, which published the original op-ed piece by Joseph Epstein, doubled down. Top WSJ editor Paul Gigot complained about critics of the column playing the gender card.
Whatever that is.
Dr. Biden has earned her title. She plans to continue to teach at a community college.
But what would be a shame is if the moment was lost to ask what exactly the Biden administration has planned for secondary education, student debt, junior colleges, adjunct pay and job protection?
Over 70% of U.S. instructors in higher education are adjuncts or never-to-be tenured.
And paid poverty wages.
Glen Brown blogged about the plight of his adjunct co-workers, many with a Phd, at Chicago’s private Benedictine University.
It is well known that adjunct faculty work without job security, without the benefit of healthcare, and without an ethical living wage. Most universities’ priorities are their development of building projects and technology, renovation of infrastructure, management of revenues and investments and reducing operating costs, administrative/bureaucratic positions and salaries, and athletic programs and their resources. “…The truth is that teaching is a diminishing priority in universities. Years of American Association of University Professors (AAUP) reports indicate that budgets for instruction are proportionally shrinking. Universities now devote less than one-third of their expenditures to instruction. Meanwhile, administrative positions have increased at more than 10 times the rate of tenured faculty positions. [Of course], sports and amenities are much more fun [and profitable]…” (Birmingham).
There is no equity for adjunct instructors. Courses staffed with contingent adjunct faculty cost the same student tuition and provide the same credits staffed by tenured full-time faculty. Adjunct faculty grade compositions and tests, write recommendations and advise students, devise and develop classes, create lesson plans and course materials and improve curricula, among other unpaid responsibilities.
There are no due process protections for adjunct faculty. There is no equal pay for equal work. There is no professional advancement. There is no equity in the lack of health insurance and retirement benefits available for adjunct faculty. There is little to no inclusion in the way higher education’s formal decision-making procedures and structures are made. Indeed, adjunct faculty are simply part-time contractors, “lecturers,” or non-essential “marginalized” hires who are disenfranchised from high-level governance and required to carry out most of the responsibilities of the full-time faculty (and sometimes at multiple institutions), but for less than one-fifth of the salary of the full-time faculty and without meaningful job security from one semester to another.