PTers Pursuing Unemployment in Work-For-Hire States
by Carol Biliczky
April Freely’s part-time teaching job at the University of Akron ended in May.
So she did the previously unthinkable: She filed for unemployment compensation.
She’s among a seemingly growing number of part-time faculty in Ohio who are pursuing state aid after spring semester ends and before the fall one begins.
The quixotic quest pits them against colleges and universities and a bewildering nest of state regulations through which they must wade.
They are spurred by activists who believe adjunct instructors are abused with poverty wages and no guarantees of future employment.
“We want to make contingent faculty more expensive for these institutions,” said Maria Maisto, president of the Akron-area-based New Faculty Majority and a founder of the Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association. “We want to make it more cost-effective to give adjuncts job security.”
Adjuncts make up about 59 percent of the faculty workforce at UA, the highest rate among Ohio’s tax-supported universities. At Youngstown State, which has the second-highest level of adjuncts, 57 percent are part-timers.
At many colleges and universities, adjuncts teach large introductory classes for lower-level students. Some have little more than bachelor’s degrees, although some have doctorates and are seeking full-time teaching jobs
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