WASHINGTON -- It's time for Congress to pay attention to the abuse of adjunct faculty members, and the way their poor working conditions impact not only them, but their students, says a new report from the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
While the report largely endorses previous studies on the subject, “The Just-In-Time Professor” document marks the first time Congress has so formally acknowledged a situation that adjunct activists have long deemed exploitative.
“The contingent faculty trend appears to mirror trends in the general labor market toward a flexible, ‘just-in-time’ workforce, with lower compensation and unpredictable schedules for what were once considered middle-class jobs,” says the report from the office of Rep. George Miller, the senior committee Democrat, from California. “The trend should be of concern to policymakers both because of what it means for the living standards and the work lives of those individuals we expect to educate the next generation of scientists, entrepreneurs, and other highly skilled workers, and what it may mean for the quality of higher education itself.”
The report, based on the anecdotal data from adjuncts and existing research, found that 98 percent of respondents in an online, committee-sponsored forum felt they were “missing opportunities to better serve their students because of the demands of their schedule.”