The Sorry State of Higher Ed

It’s a sad state of affairs for Universities. It used to mean more to be a college professor. Of course that was before women joined the ranks in larger numbers. It’s funny how that works.

From the Homeless Adjunct – snips from  How The American University was Killed, in Five Easy Steps


At latest count, we have 1.5 million university professors in this country, 1 million of whom are adjuncts. One million professors in America are hired on short-term contracts, most often for one semester at a time, with no job security whatsoever….


…the average yearly starting salary of a university professor at Temple University in 1975 was just under $10,000 a year, with full benefits – health, retirement, and educational benefits (their family’s could attend college for free.) And guess what? Average pay for Temple’s faculty is STILL about the same — because adjuncts now make up the majority of faculty, and earn between $8,000 to $14,000 a year (depending on how many courses they are assigned each semester – there is NO guarantee of continued employment) — but unlike the full-time professors of 1975, these adjunct jobs come with NO benefits, no health care, no retirement, no educational benefits, no offices. How many other professions report salaries that have remained at 1975 levels?


…From the 1970s until today, as the number of full-time faculty jobs continued to shrink, the number of full-time administrative jobs began to explode. As faculty was deprofessionalized and casualized, reduced to teaching as migrant contract workers, administrative jobs now offered good, solid salaries, benefits, offices, prestige and power. In 2012, administrators now outnumber faculty on every campus across the country.


…There has been a redistribution of funds away from those who actually teach, the scholars – and therefore away from the students’ education itself — and into these administrative and executive salaries, sports costs — and the expanded use of “consultants”, PR and marketing firms, law firms. We have to add here, too, that president salaries went from being, in the 1970s, around $25K to 30K, to being in the hundreds of thousands to MILLIONS of dollars – salary, delayed compensation, discretionary funds, free homes, or generous housing allowances, cars and drivers, memberships to expensive country clubs.


…So what is the problem with corporate money, you might ask? A lot. When corporate money floods the universities, corporate values replace academic values. As we said before, humanities get defunded and the business school gets tons of money. Serious issues of ethics begin to develop when corporate money begins to make donations and form partnerships with science departments – where that money buys influence regarding not only the kinds of research being done but the outcomes of that research.


…Tuitions have increased, using CA as an example again, over 2000% since the 1970s. 2000%!


When you know how much tuition has increased and how little adjuncts are paid – you realize how absurd the situation is. I am an adjunct. I will be paid $2500 for teaching over 30 seventy-five minute classes – along with creating/grading tests and papers, etc. What sort of incentive is there for creating more permanent jobs. It will take an informed public to complain – voice their outrage over the situation.

1 thought on “The Sorry State of Higher Ed

  1. Unfortunately the raw numbers might not look “bad enough” to the administrators who consider little more than dollars, without sense.
    E.g. $2500 / (30 classes * (1.25 hrs/class + 2.5hr prep/class + 3 hr grading/class)) = $13 /hr ,
    which while horrible is still ~double the minimum wage (though still obviously not sufficient). Unfortunately, this is only part-time work, and that aspect/context is lost in most administrators’ spreadsheets…as is their much higher salary in the public ‘debate’…
    …I left the US because of this crap, and Europeans are still in literal disbelief as to how bad it is “over there”, with the Euro administrators often trying to copy the “successful American model”!
    The humans that learn of the common good, and its value, are not often those who hold power.

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