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My Grim Future


Chronicle of Higher Education, via Kat, via Bitch Ph.D.

Dear Adjunct Faculty Member:

It’s come to our attention that we may have openings to teach two upper-level classes next fall, and although we can’t offer you appointments at this point, we would like the names of those interested in teaching these required courses. We need to make clear that indicating your willingness to teach these classes in no way guarantees your employment next year.

In order to be eligible to teach the classes, you must have: a Ph.D., experience teaching the subject matter, a good teaching record, and an intangible quality that we don’t want to define because we feel that definition would make it tangible. We will pay you roughly $4,000 a class regardless of your experience.

In light of the desperate situation many of you seem to find yourself in, we’d like to take this opportunity to offer some suggestions if you really want to be rehired:

Win a teaching award. That makes us look good, and we like that.

Be a man. When we do decide to turn a part-time job into a full-time temporary position or to hire a full-time administrator for a program — although we won’t guarantee those people future employment either — they are somewhat more secure, and it is always a man who gets the job. That is not, as some have suggested, “gender bias.” It’s just that men are better. We find that to be true even among our tenured faculty members.

Marry one of us. While we cannot guarantee you a tenured position unless you marry a really important one of us, we can guarantee that you won’t have to stand in line like everyone else to get your class assignments, and you will always be able to teach upper-level courses, even if there are other adjuncts more qualified than you. If you have to divorce someone else in order to marry one of us, well, let’s just say there’s precedent.

Know your place. You are teaching staff. We are research staff. Don’t give papers. We thought we made it clear by not giving you any release time or travel money that we don’t want you to produce scholarship. Even though it has been statistically proven that many non-tenure faculty members will be in residence longer than some of their tenure-track counterparts, even though many of you have taught more classes than some of the rest of us will teach in our lifetimes, we prefer to pour all of our money and support into people who will complete a book and then leave us for someplace “better” or “warmer.”

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