The Motley Fool Discussion Boards

Previous Page

Politics & Current Events / Retire Early CampFIRE


Subject:  Re: Heh heh...academia gets whacked by ObamaKare Date:  11/23/2012  1:37 PM
Author:  mzee20 Number:  656635 of 875682

re:Pennsylvania's Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) is slashing the hours of 400 adjunct instructors, support staff, and part-time instructors to dodge paying for Obamacare.

This is nothing new; adjuncts are routinely abused regarding hours and benefits, especially at community colleges, but also at universities, med schools and other professional non-profit schools. Here is a link from 2008 concerning just one example:

This should be an opportunity to examine ways in which academic institutions are allowed to violate rules that govern other corporations. Microsoft was dinged a few years back for keeping full-time "contract" workers for years without taking them on as employees, but colleges have been doing the same for years.

Adjuncts sign on for a variety of reasons. Some are working professionals who don't need the money but want to pad their resumes with academic credentials. Some are hanging on to an academic career by teaching classes here and there to piece together enough to live. Some hope to obtain the Holy Grail of a tenured position, but there are few in CCs. The terms of employment are often very odd. Friends who have worked for the local CC have been paid so much per student hour, plus so much per quiz, plus so much per paper, etc. It leads to an odd course structure as they try to balance their need for pay against their need for good student evaluations.

Adjuncts at the med school often pay their own salaries and benefits from grant money they obtain themselves but can only spend if they work under the auspices of a university. The university takes a cut (often a third or more), and handle salaries and bennies for the adjuncts and their staffs. They tend not to teach, but if they do, they get paid a pittance relative to their tenure-track "colleagues."

It's a racket, and yes, the administration and the tenured faculty are responsible. The solution is for adjuncts, grad students and staff to unionize or move on. But too many are willing to sign on because of the perceived prestige, poor souls!

Copyright 1996-2018 trademark and the "Fool" logo is a trademark of The Motley Fool, Inc. Contact Us