4 Things College Admins Should Do to Support Their Adjuncts

Colleges are hiring more and more part-time adjuncts every year—but are they taking care of them?

For some, part-time adjuncts are a necessary evil of the college campus. For others, they are its saving grace — and an under appreciated one at that.

To show you want I’m talking about, here are some little-known facts about adjunct teachers:

· According to Forbes, adjuncts now make up 51% of all college faculty.
· NPR discovered that adjuncts make an average of just $20,000 to $25,000 annually. Those who make more than $35,000 almost always have a second job.
· Only 22.6% of adjuncts receive any kind of health coverage from academic employers.
· In 2013, a Northwestern University study found that adjuncts are better teachers than tenured faculty. In fact, student participants who took classes from adjuncts were more likely to take additional classes in the subject and were far more prepared for this extra coursework than those taught by tenured faculty.
· This survey from the Chronicle of Higher Education found that adjuncts are deeply dedicated to their students’ future success.
· BUT research shows that adjuncts are woefully unsupported. One study found that only 7% of adjuncts receive a teaching mentor and 14% receive no support at all.

So what’s the deal here? How can such great teachers be receiving outrageously low salaries, no benefits, and next to no support?

Higher wages aren’t always possible, but there are other meaningful ways universities can give their adjuncts a break. So if you’re a college administrator or know someone who is, this is for you. Here are the top four things adjunct professors desperately need:

1. Make room on campus — Research states over and over that lack of space to do their work is a huge adjuncts problem. With no office and no storage space, it can be virtually impossible for adjuncts to meet with students and fulfill basic job duties. Campuses and administrations desperately need to set aside space for adjuncts to work. Right now, some share crowded office spaces, but others are literally meeting students at their cars. Yikes.

2. Create opportunities for adjuncts to be full time — The Journal of Higher Ed found that a whopping 73% of adjuncts surveyed want full-time teaching positions. The majority of adjuncts love teaching, so much that they want to make a career out of it. If you’re an administrator, harness this passionate workforce! Get them working full-time. Because adjuncts focus on teaching and nothing else, they are also more likely to invest in student success.

To read the other two ways you can support adjuncts on campus, check out our original article: Rise of the Adjuncts: Are Part-Time Teachers Hijacking Higher Ed?


This article was brought to you by @goreact, the #1 video tool for education programs to conduct student teaching observations in the cloud. Hundreds of universities in the U.S. and around the world use GoReact to improve student outcomes, help educators train future teachers, and make teaching, grading, and life in general easier for teachers. Learn more at GoReact.com.

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