LJWorld.com weblogs Heard on the Hill

Site collecting pay data for adjunct instructors; not much info on KU yet


We may still be two weeks out from the beginning of spring-semester classes at KU, but we're back to full time now at Heard on the Hill. Things were a bit hit-or-miss the past few weeks, but now it's back to regularly scheduled programming.

First up: At colleges across the country, more and more courses are being taught by adjunct faculty, or instructors who aren't on the tenure track. In November the Chronicle of Higher Education reported about 70 percent of faculty across the country are adjuncts (at four-year institutions specifically, the number was 64 percent).

So amidst that trend, the Chronicle has launched what it calls the "Adjunct Project," an effort to collect information on the pay and working conditions of non-tenure-track faculty. It was started about a year ago by an instructor in Georgia, and now the Chronicle is aiming to increase participation.

Such information can be tough to come by for people looking for adjunct jobs, the Chronicle reports.

It could provide a glimpse of where KU ranks among other universities in its pay to adjuncts — except right now, it looks like only one KU instructor, in the sociology department, has submitted his or her information. For what it's worth, that person is apparently paid more than the average adjunct instructor in sociology, but I think we'd need a sample size quite a bit larger to draw any meaningful conclusions.

But if you're a KU instructor interested in adding to the data, the Adjunct Project site makes it pretty easy to do so. Do that, and perhaps in time we can report back with some information that means something.

If you're not an adjunct instructor but you're still in the information-sharing mood, have I got an idea for you: Submit a KU news tip to merickson@ljworld.com.


Dave Trabert 5 years, 5 months ago

Payroll listings for all university employees and other state employees for 2009, 2010 and 2011 are at http://www.kansasopengov.org/StateGovernment/PayandBenefits/tabid/792/Default.aspx

2012 data should be available sometime in February.

merickson 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes, a good point. Their pay is public record, after all. But we don't know from that information how many courses each person taught, how much they were paid per course, what benefits they receive, etc. That's the sort of info this Chronicle project is trying to aggregate, for the benefit of people looking for adjunct jobs.



Crash88 5 years, 5 months ago

64% adjunct professors seems crazy!!! IF KU is even close to this, I don't see how they keep their AAU affiliation.

Do you think if tenure went away at universities, we could eliminate it at primary and secondary schools also? It serves absolutely no purpose anymore.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

It's just about seniority and due process, not about being able to do whatever you want and have a job for life, especially in k-12. You can still get fired for bad performance. Actually, you can as a professor, too. It's just harder. And frankly, if you can't figure out that a teacher is a lousy teacher in the first three years, you deserve to do the extra documentation required to fire them.

Tenure serves to keep faculty from being fired for having politically inconvenient opinions, and with the current leadership, it seems to be more needed than ever.

What's outrageous is the idea that 64% of faculty aren't on tenure track. Does that count grad students? How qualified are these adjuncts? I knew it had started getting bad. I didn't realize it was this bad.

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