The excellent article below was posted on the American Association of University Professors’ blog and was written by Martin Kich at Wright State University. I agree with all of what he writes, except that we have a ‘looming’ crisis; we’ve had a crisis for quite some time now.
The “real problem” behind the exploitation of adjunct faculty is quite obvious: universities have continued to produce a reasonable number of Ph.D.’s but no longer are willing to hire a reasonable number of them into full-time, never mind tenure-track, positions.
This situation will change when enrollment in graduate programs starts to contract, and even to crater, because students confront the reality that they have significantly less than a fifty percent chance of finding full-time employment after completing their doctorates—when they confront the reality that the majority of them are spending up to a decade or more in graduate school, and in the process accumulating far more debt on average than undergraduates accumulate, all in order to earn a wage comparable to what they could earn as an “associate” at WalMart.
Because the current pool of adjunct faculty has been built up over several decades but is continually eroded by the…
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