We live in a time of “adjunct plight” essays. This isn’t one of them. True, I am an adjunct, and I have much plight, but rather than be blamed for whining by you full-timers, let me scare you instead. I am an adjunct, and I’m making it much harder for full-timers to get a job, to get tenure, or to retain meaningful control over academic affairs.
Let’s be clear: I am a shill, a scab. I am the cheap, easy, powerless trump card that administrators can play against full-timers every single time in every single conflict. And I am legion.
The faculty will always be in retreat so long as the vast majority of teachers are held powerless. Adjuncts are too great a temptation, too convenient a solution for a budget-minded administrator. We’re too inexpensive, too controllable, too dispensable a resource to ignore. Full-timers should be involved in helping adjuncts, not out of charity or guilt, but out of direct self-interest.
It’s a simple process: When a full-timer retires, the position disappears, and the course assignments go to two or three adjuncts. Sure, the classes are still filled, but the committees that the retiree served on have one less member, students have one less mentor, the department has one less scholar or researcher, the union has one less powerful voice, and the administration has one less powerful opponent to worry about. <Read more.>