Many colleges and universities in the US (and in Canada) are hiring adjuncts (or sessionals or part-timers) rather than tenure-stream professors. Adjuncts typically earn a lot less than professors, so they have to teach a lot in order to make a decent living. They don’t have time to give individual attention to students who need help. They don’t have the time to do research or to keep up with new developments in the field. They have no job security. Often adjuncts won’t know until August what courses they are going to teach in September. They don’t have time to prepare. Sometimes they find themselves teaching courses outside their areas of expertise. It’s a bad system for the adjuncts and for the students. (But pretty good for the administrators.)+Where I teach the administration is pushing “teaching-stream” appointments. These are tenure-track appointments, but the emphasis is on teaching rather than on research. A research/teaching appointment is supposed to split 40% research/40% teaching/20% service; that translates to 2.5 courses a year in my department. A teaching stream appointment would teach 4 courses a year, which is a lot, but less than a typical adjunct has to do. Those in the teaching stream would be eligible for tenure, and tenure would not require extensive publications.+Some people do well in teaching stream appointments; some people like to teach but don’t so much want to do research. I think that’s fine. But it’s important to keep research appointments, so that someone out there is adding to knowledge; and I fear the creation of a two-tier system, where research professors are seen to be superior to teaching professors.
Apr 12, 2017