What we (don’t) talk about when we talk about adjuncting
I came across this wonderful post from The New Yorker about the adjunct problem and thought it could spark a good conversation.
Have you come out to your students as an adjunct?
Coming out as an adjunct is necessary. Your students may not pay any attention to whether your job title is instructor, assistant professor or distinguished professor. Like the author of the New Yorker piece, I did not realize that most of my undergraduate education was done under adjuncts. And they were wonderful teachers!
Adjunct labor is the open secret in the glass closet of the US university system that everyone knows but few are willing to acknowledge, including students (who may know but not know that they know). How have you addressed this in your classes?
Our situation as adjuncts or graduate teaching fellows can feel perilous and make us not want to make waves or raise these issues for fear of reprisals or getting shut out of the system all together, which in turn only perpetuates the adjunctification of higher education. We need students, parents, and full-time faculty to work with adjuncts to change the system from within. Step one of this process is initiating a conversation with your students where you come out as an adjunct.