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.”

POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs ON March 3, 2011

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Yeah Right

I don’t know where you got the idea that “Ocean County College‘s adjuncts like the option,” since to my knowledge most of us hate the idea. Why in the world would anyone want to participate in a system that does away with job security?

If you had done your job as a journalist, you might have found out that adjuncts are being bumped from our classes by these so-called “non-tenure track” instructors, and that the adjunct union head is doing nothing about it, he maintaining that there is nothing he can do. He has said publicly that he fully supports the system, which makes no sense since the NTT instructors are taking classes away from those he is suppose to be protecting.

There are some very deep concerns that need to be addressed on that campus, but since the press no longer reports on such things, the administration does whatever it wants to do and gets away with it. The president has made out the full-time staff to be the evil doers in all this, but the reality is that they earn a decent living and do their jobs well for the most part. The president, on the other hand, has been lining his pockets and stuffing his pension the board signs him to one outrageous package after another.

The same can be said for others who are politically connected, and have been sharing in that good wealth as well. Perhaps you should look into the ratio of vice presidents and assistant vice presidents, many of whom were hired during what the president himself has called a time of economic straights. Additionally, there has been talk building a yacht club for the sailing team. Really? A yacht club for a handful of students? How exactly is that a priority? You might also want to question why Ocean County taxpayers will be shelling out some $15 million for the new $30 million Kean University building. The $15 million will be split between the college and the county freeholders, and the rest paid for by KU, which should be bearing the entire bill since it benefits that university.

There seems to be plenty of money around for nepotism and pet projects, but none for the full-time professors. The new non-tenure positions are being put in place for no other reason than to break the full-time union. There is no economic advantage for the college, so why do it? If the only difference is tenure, which costs nothing, then it is clear that it is about controlling the teaching staff, both full-time and adjunct.

I opted to keep my name out of this response because I would be fired for telling the truth, but since your article does no justice to that truth, I felt I had to say something. As a journalist, you might want to dig a little deeper next time and not just take the word of the president and the one adjunct whom you quoted. You might be surprised to find evidence that contradicts what you were told by the powers-that-be.

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