AFT’s Craig Smith is at it again. On July 17th, he “discovered” the book Managing Adjunct Faculty, a book published by our company the Part-Time Press. We bought the copyright to the book from Dr. Donald Greive in 2003. He wrote the book along with his colleague Catherine A. Worden. Don Greive was a Dean at a community college in Ohio for many years, and was responsible for hiring and supervising a large group of part-time faculty.
Craig Smith had some interesting comments. The one that got me thinking was this one: “Here is an idea for the new millennium: what say we create good jobs and support those who are committed to making a living by working with college students to expand their knowledge and skills? Sure classes, colleges and education as a whole might change as our technologies, communications, and cultures change, slide and shift, but I am going to bet that having a corps of committed and professional educators is an idea that will transcend time. We should stop acting like exploiting contingent faculty is a brave new world cultural development and admit that it is based in a philosophy of teaching on the cheap and is within our control to change.”
Of course the exploitation of adjunct faculty isn’t new. The AFT’s sudden interest in the organization of adjunct faculty is new, however. AFT officials have said over and again that they dropped the ball for a couple decades there and now, well, now it’s time to saddle up and get adjuncts unionized. Welcome to the party. Adjuncts who are trying to make a living from teaching have been living on salted peanuts and seltzer water since 1990. Now that AFT, NEA and AAUP are in the room, they’ve decided there are too many adjuncts eating the nuts and drinking the mixers. The new push is to get taxpayers to pony up more money for full-time faculty.
The day the national AFT office (or any other union that represents part-time faculty) issues a policy statement to the effect that pay gains won by their affiliates must be divided equally in actual dollars between full-time and part-time faculty members, will be the day the AFT’s public relations office has a leg to stand on when talking about the “abuse” of adjunct faculty.