Letters to the Editor

Adjunct Man

I think Rob Schnelle is the most original voice you’ve published in some time. Not the same old same old, but a satirical essay that really succeeds in hitting below the belt–where all good satirical writing hits, by the way. I love his send up of Bettlebrow State University, and the pompous windbags who hold tenured positions there. Can anyone not recognize a Dr. James Advil or President Inez Flattentyre among the ranks of the administrators and tenured faculty at institutions across the United States?

This is why I keep sending you people my hard-earned money, and I do mean hard-earned. I have spent the past 12 years teaching with the likes of Dr. Pamela Hooey, and all I have to show for it are a nine-year-old car, a stack of credit cards bills and a wardrobe that was in vogue more than a decade ago. I am Adjunct Man and I teach at Beetlebrow State University. Wish me luck, and keep my subscription coming. Thanks for the laughs, and for the terrific job you do for adjunct faculty.

Nate J. Whiting, Indianapolis, Indiana

My hat is off to Rob Schnelle. I can’t remember reading an essay about the adjunct life that made me laugh out loud as much as “Adjunct Man” did. Schnelle’s piece points out the true absurdity that surrounds the overuse of part-time faculty, and the hubris of the full-time faculty members and administrators who choose to ignore not only the importance of our contributions, but adjuncts as individuals.

K. McManus, Associate Professor (limited-term) McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Campus Equity Week

Once again, the Adjunct Advocate, the magazine that is supposed to advocate on behalf of part-time faculty, has published an article critical of the union movement. Campus Equity Week is not the end all and be all of adjunct organization. No one associated with CEW that Cumo interviewed for the article ever implied that. Chris Cumo’s piece, however, makes Campus Equity Week out to be ineffectual. In reality, given the lack of alternatives, it is one of the most positive and empowering options available to part-time faculty.

I understand the need for a journalist to ask probing questions and look carefully at the facts, but Cumo’s piece makes no effort to examine Campus Equity Week impartially. As a CEW supporter and Adjunct Advocate reader I take exception to that.

Investigative journalism is fine, just so long as it is fair.

Diane Epstein, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Paula Garner is absolutely right that CEW is like Chinese water torture….for the part-time faculty. We have waited 25 years for the labor unions to better our working conditions and organize us. Adjunct faculty can’t stand around and wait while CEW organizers help with drips and drops. Yes, eventually the drips and drops could make a Grand Canyon, but I really don’t think any of us will be around in three million years to enjoy the benefits and fruits of CEW’s labor. Sometimes, even when people are doing the best they can on behalf of others it’s just not enough. CEW is an example of just one such labor movement. Jack Longmate says in the article that the success of a movement shouldn’t be judged on whether or not people have heard of it, but rather how things have changed where they have changed. For me, in Florida, nothing has changed. This article in the Adjunct Advocate was the first I’d ever heard of Campus Equity Week. I wish them luck, and success, but don’t really expect anything much to change before I retire in 2026.

T. Edward Smith, St. Augustine, Florida

How to Ace a Virtual Interview

I just finished teaching an on-line course for the University of Phoenix. As employers go, U of P is about average as far as pay is concerned. The unpaid training course is asking a bit much, I think, but it’s professional development and who can’t use more of that? I read Evelyn Beck’s piece in the September/October 2003 issue and must say that I have one little comment to add: Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. Teaching on-line is a lot of work and, in some instances, much less pay.

Name Withheld

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From the Archive

  • A review of The UnCivil University

    reviewed by Elizabeth Warren As a child growing up in a small town in the South, I had little knowledge of anti-Semitism. All I knew about Israel came from reading a paperback copy of Leon Uris’s Exodus. While my knowledge has increased over the decades, the novelty of the subject made me approach my reading […]

  • OFTEN Comes Just in Time

    by Evelyn Beck Not too long ago, Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) brought its adjuncts into the twenty-first century. “It’s hard to imagine anyone working without e-mail and computers even though it’s only been a few years since they became standards for adjuncts,” says Kathryn Baker, a former adjunct who has been teaching full time […]

  • Essay Grading Software

    by Evelyn Beck As an English teacher who has devoted countless nights and weekends, not to mention my formerly keen eyesight, to grading student papers, I have met the news about essay-grading software with a mixture of joy and unease. Is it really possible, I wondered, that a computer might take over a chore that […]

  • The Best American Travel Writing 2005

    by Jeffrey M. Freedman Travel writing serves the indispensable need to transport readers, through vivid description and narratives, to foreign locales that they have either not been able to visit, or are preparing to visit and want to know more about. Generic travel books appeal to the traveling herd, the voyagers who just want to […]

  • New Rules Define Workload of Part-Time College Instructors

    by Nick Anderson New rules for the Affordable Care Act spell out for the first time a federal method to define the workload of part-time college instructors, but the formula will not necessarily require schools to provide the instructors with health-care coverage. The question of how to count hours worked by adjunct faculty members has been […]


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Recently Commented

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