College offers one-year contracts to adjuncts

Some adjuncts at a New Jersey community college will be offered one-year lectureships, instead of being hired class by class. Ocean County College‘s adjuncts like the option, which includes more pay and health benefits, though no promise of tenure. But tenured professors are opposed, reports Inside Higher Ed.

The local full-time faculty union, however, counters that the positions amount to “exploitation” and sees the administration’s push to hire more full-time, non-tenured faculty as “union busting.”

Aduncts now outnumber full-time, tenured faculty by nearly four to one. Jon Larson, the college president, hopes to shift many adjuncts to lecturer jobs.  The full-time faculty fear the college will stop hiring tenure-track professors.

A lecturer will teach seven courses each in both the fall and spring semesters and two courses during the summer sessions. Full-time, tenure-track faculty are on a 10-month contract. They teach five courses in both the fall and spring semesters; those who teach in a summer session receive extra pay.

Lecturers will start at more than $55,000 a year, with benefits, comparable to full-time professors who teach a similar courseload. Adjuncts earn $2,100 per three-credit course and do not qualify for benefits.

“It seems the only people unhappy about this are the people who had a cushy deal,” said Larson, referring to the tenure-track faculty members. “We understand they’re antsy and concerned about it, but this is a genuine effort to address a problem higher education has.”

The 12-month lecturers will replace tenured faculty, warns Patricia Demko, chemistry professor and president of the Faculty Association of Ocean County College. “There will be no more 10-month, tenured faculty in a few short years. There will be no more continuity and consistency in the faculty. That’ll get lost when you have a revolving door. It’ll just be all professors going from one year to another.”