As I noted last week, many schools don’t have a strong sense that adjuncts write. (Okay, that’s putting it mildly…) As a result, they don’t provide much funding for conference attendance. Actually, that too is putting it mildly. Many schools provide no funds at all to support academic research/writing by adjuncts. Those funds are reserved for full-time faculty. It seems part of the general mindset that adjuncts aren’t real faculty, and/or that they aren’t really part of the institution where they teach.
However, some schools do support adjunct scholarship both psychologically and financially. These schools are institutions that have reconfigured how they think about academic labor; a number of them accent online education, and expect adjuncts to play a major role in their institutions, and plan accordingly.
For example, Baker College, whose home campus is in Michigan, has a thriving online program. Officials make funds available to adjuncts on a case-by-case basis for presenting papers at conferences. They also actively solicit research by faculty that relates directly to teaching and/or that would directly benefit Baker students.
Upper Iowa University makes research funds available to adjuncts. The University of Phoenix provides funds not just for conference presentations, but in the form of honorariums for academic publications. Granted, the $200 for each publication won’t pay the rent or take the place of tenure, but University of Phoenix adjuncts who publish can accumulate up to four of these each year (for publishing or presentations), and that helps buy time to research and write.
Each of these schools mentioned also supports publications socially/emotionally; school officials publicize papers and/or presentations, and send congratulatory emails.
The funding policies at some of these schools also reflect a shifting attitude toward academic labor/the academic market in general. That is to say, in addition to supporting research and faculty development, some of these schools speak directly of faculty publications as branding/promoting a school’s brand. For an adjunct who’s also a scholar, the distinction in the short run may be moot; he or she may actually be better served by this more business-like approach to publishing than by attitudes at more traditional schools. In the longer run, this is part of a larger shift in what publication means for academics.