Letters to the Editor

Six Years and Counting

I have been subscribing to Adjunct Advocate for almost six years. In that time, I have taught at four different institutions, been fired (like clockwork) at the end of every semester, and rehired (like more clockwork) at the beginning of the next semester. I have put over 80,000 miles on my car, and earned under $30,000 every year. My life, in short, has been predictable, if not slightly demoralizing. Every year, I apply for the openings which inevitably crop up at the colleges where I teach part-time. And every year the hiring committees look past my obvious experience and qualifications.

I was 30 when I first came across an issue of Adjunct Advocate in the faculty lounge at one of the community colleges where I teach. Today I’m closer to 40, but no closer to the full-time teaching job I thought I’d find when I graduated with my Ph.D. Then, teaching part-time was a stop-gap measure–a way for me to keep myself in shape, so to speak, before being called up to the Game.

This will be my last year of teaching part-time. Either I will find that full-time teaching job, or I will find work outside of higher education. I just wanted to let you know how much I have appreciated your magazine over the past six years. I don’t always agree with your editorials, nor do I find every single article to my liking. However, it has done more to ease my feelings of isolation than you will ever know. Each issue has been like a visit from a friend. Thanks very much for that. You have helped me through six very difficult years, and shown me that there is life for an academic like me outside of Academe.
name withheld

What’s the Punchline?
I picked up a copy of the March/April 2005 issue, and the punchline of the cartoon used on the front cover (brilliant!!!) was partially obscured by the damned mailing label.

What was it?

Nate A. Billings
Boulder, CO

Editor: I received my copy of the magazine, and was equally disappointed to see cartoonist Matt Hall’s creation done in by the sloppy placement of the mailing label by our printer. I apologize to all of our readers for this error. The complete cartoon tagline is this: “Tell the adjuncts all of us here at union headquarters are outraged by your administration’s pay policy. Oh yes, and could you remind them their dues should arrive no later than the first of every month?“

Part-Time Faculty at the New School

Robert Kerrey’s attempts to undermine and fight the part-time faculty union organizers at his institution are nothing short of shameful.

That he had the temerity to protest the union’s vote on the basis of low (65 percent) voter turnout is the icing on the cake. During his final campaign for the U.S. Senate, he was elected by less than 45 percent of the eligible voters in his state. Oddly enough, this didn’t keep him from trotting off to Washington, D.C. for another term.

The best part of Melissa Doak’s article comes when she points out that while Kerrey was doing everything he could to fight the part-time faculty union at his college, the president of the University of Michigan was doing just the opposite.

Dr. Sara Sklarsky
New York, NY

I really enjoyed Melissa Doak’s piece about the New School University published in the March/April 2005 issue of Adjunct Advocate. She does a marvellous job of telling a complicated story. I teach at NYU, and worked to organize my fellow part-time faculty. I can say with conviction that the story was accurately written, and captures the essence of our fight for our rights. Thanks very much for publishing her piece, and for letting adjuncts around the country know about our efforts.
Name Withheld
New York University
New York, New York

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From the Archive

  • A New Movement is Rising—Adjunct Teachers’ Unions Spring Up Nationwide

    By Bob Peterson Northeastern University. Gonzaga. University of St. Thomas. Adjunct faculty are unionizing at college large and small. A revitalized teacher union movement is bubbling up in the midst of relentless attacks on public schools and the teaching profession. Over the next several years this new movement may well be the most important force […]

  • E-Books Gaining Momentum in the Marketplace

    By Peter Osnos On a rainy Sunday afternoon in November, I decided to read historian Antonia Fraser’s Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday). Pinter, the playwright, actor, and Nobel Prize winner in literature died of cancer in late 2008, and Fraser, his lover and then wife for more than 30 […]

  • SEIU Targets Adjuncts at DePaul U. in Chicago

    by Brendan Moore DePaul could soon be at the forefront of the debate over adjunct unionization as DePaul President Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M. informed faculty last week of attempts by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to add DePaul faculty to their ranks. In an email with the subject line “Union Solicitation at DePaul,” Holtschneider […]

  • Using Humor In The College Classroom To Enhance Teaching Effectiveness

    by Neelam Kher Humor is a valuable teaching tool for establishing a classroom climate conducive to learning. This article identifies opportunities for incorporating humor in the college classroom, reviews the impact of humor on learning outcomes, and suggests guidelines for the appropriate use of humor. Of particular interest is humor in “dread courses” which students […]

  • Canadian Part-Timers Seek Union Rights

    by Pauline Tama An English teacher at Algonquin College is leading Ontario’s 17,000 part-time and temporary college workers in a fight to win the same rights as their full-time unionized colleagues. Roger Couvrette is expected to meet with Universities and Colleges Minister Chris Bentley next week to demand the Ontario government repeal a law that […]


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