'Second-Class' Professors Seek Fairer Wages
Adjunct professors get few benefits
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jan 25, 2014 2:52 PM CST
Adjunct professors "are in a different class," one tells NBC.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Even within the ivory tower of academia, many feel a sharp class divide: While tenured professors have job security and, often, six-figure pay, adjunct professors can see their courses dropped at any time and may be paid a relative pittance. "To students, everyone is just 'professor,'" adjunct Marcia Newfield, who has taught for 26 years, tells NBC News. Adjuncts, she says, "are in a different class. They're poor. There's no other way to explain it." One profiled by the New York Times makes $24,000 a year—when he's managed to get full-time work teaching four classes. He was given just three this term between two different institutions.

The City University of New York, where Newfield teaches, has backed health benefits for adjuncts with a $10 million contribution, the Times reports. But Newfield doesn't get disability benefits or a permanent office, and she's paid just $3,622 per class she teaches. The national average for adjuncts is $2,987. CUNY's distinguished professors, by contrast, are paid an average of $144,000 a year, and the university's chancellor received $574,004 in 2012, NBC notes. But being an adjunct is a far more common position: part-time adjuncts make up 62% of the university's teaching staff of 18,600, the CUNY staff union says.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
'Second-Class' Professors Seek Fairer Wages is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 50 comments
Ezekiel 25:17
Jan 26, 2014 7:12 PM CST
Solution is that you eliminate the tenure altogether like some Texas colleges have. Then you don't have trouble getting rid of the bad ones either. Another problem I've heard about in academia is the hiring of African professors over African Americans. A university can satisfy Affirmative Action requirements if a school has one by going to Africa and hiring a professor from Angola, Kenya, Ghana, etc. They get a good teacher and at the same time, someone who has not lived a single day in the Black life of America. They have not been continually explosed to the racial tensions we have here in the USA. When you get them as a professor, you can easily tell the difference. But Black US born professor candidates feel cheated and overlooked in the process.
Jan 26, 2014 3:29 PM CST
$24,000 per year for full-time teaching? That's poverty level for a family of four. Despite all the criticism of minimum wage earners having no "skills" and the callused advice for them to go get an education if they want more, here's a person who got an education and probably some debt too, only to find themselves still struggling to get ahead.
Jan 26, 2014 10:44 AM CST
The time is long past for the Government to demand that any organization that seeks Government money should pay no employee more than the President of the United States + 30% in benefits. If they chose to make more, they can work for an organization that doesn't make their living off of the Government. Let's see a University make it without students receiving Government loans. Let's see an insurance company that doesn't make it without Medicare and Medicaid monies. Let's see big contractors like Lockheed and General Dynamics make a living without Government money. Unfortunately, with each Government contract each of these Companies Executives take for themselves before money moves down the line. The time is long past to start controlling the gravy train. By the way, for those of you working for such companies, there is NO place in this Country where you will have a tough time living on such wages! Maybe you'll have to buy one less vacation home!!