Colleges and universities around the state have exponentially increased their adjunct hires and actively shortened contracted positions to decrease overhead.
This progressive shift in focus from valuable and consistent professors and small class sizes to ensuring monetary results is a detriment to the quality of education.
As evidenced by the threat looming over the University of Texas at San Antonio’s liberal arts department adjunct faculty, short-term hires with limited contracts do not promote a stable budget.
It’s the same story everywhere.
Adjunct faculty are denied job security, health benefits and competitive pay; however, they are expected to fulfill the role and responsibilities of full-time faculty.
The UTSA adjuncts are facing the possibility of a massive cut in their numbers, which in turn means a substantial increase in class sizes.
Alamo Colleges adjuncts — who are often stretched between multiple campuses just to afford a subsistence lifestyle — are subject to the same surveys, assessments and bureaucracy that are required of full-time faculty.
The idea that district administration thinks overworked adjuncts should have the time, energy or desire to go the extra mile with students on these campuses is either idealistic ignorance or a blatant disregard for the efforts of full-time employees and the quality of education they provide.
Beyond the lack of pay incentive and abuse of time, full-time and part-time adjuncts are subject to the anxiety that comes with lack of job security; how can a teacher offer their entire potential to their classes if they are also worried about having a job next semester?
Developing a sense of loyalty and a consistent relationship with a workplace harbors a sense of community that produces stronger work efforts and encourages professional growth.
The idea that confining adjunct contracts to a semester reduces overhead is illogical considering the protection against inflation and repeated office labor and processing that hiring nontenured faculty provides.
A small-minded person might suggest that a solution to reduce the number of underpaid and overworked adjuncts is to decrease the number of classes by increasing class sizes.
This oversight would lead to a classroom devoid of meaningful one-on-one instruction with students, as adjuncts are not required to keep offices hours nor are they compensated for them.
It’s time to stop running the Alamo Colleges like a service industry, where the lowest-paid employees have the most interaction with students on campus.
If Chancellor Bruce Leslie is committed to whipping the mule, he needs to create positions and allocate funds to hire nontenured faculty rather than supplementing with adjuncts.