Adjuncts average $2,987 per 3-credit course

Average pay for adjuncts at colleges and universitiesis $2,987 for a three-credit course, reports The Adjunct Project, which is crowdsourcing information on salaries and working conditions. Community colleges pay much less than most four-year universities, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. “Adjuncts at 16 colleges reported earning less than $1,000.”

Joshua A. Boldt, a writing instructor in Georgia, is working with The Chronicle on a web site that sorts data by department, college, and region of the country.

At top research universities, adjuncts average $4,750 per three-credit course. Adjuncts at rural, medium-sized, two-year institutions, where pay is the lowest, average $1,808 per three-credit course.

In California, where faculty at two- and four-year public institutions are unionized, the average pay is $3,888 per course, according to data reported to the Adjunct Project as of last month. In Texas, by contrast, a state where unions are rare, the reported pay is lower: $2,805 per course.

Salaries are lower in the humanities: Adjuncts who teach English reported earning an average of $2,727 per course.  At Houston Community College, adjuncts average $1,200 to $2,200 for a three-credit English course. The national average for adjuncts who teach engineering is $4,789 per course.

Only 22 percent of adjuncts reported that they were union members. Seventy percent don’t serve on governance committees.

“We’re not compensated when we do that,” Peter Feiden, an adjunct economics professor at Montgomery College, in Maryland, says of part-time faculty members there. He earns about $3,000 per course at Montgomery and about $6,000 per course at Catholic University of America, where he is also an adjunct.

Few adjuncts qualify for health insurance, retirement or other benefits.

About half of all faculty members — 70 percent at community colleges — are part-time adjuncts, estimates a 2010 survey by the American Federation of Teachers. Eighty percent of community college faculty teach part-time, according to the American Association of Community Colleges.

Universities keep turning out English PhDs even though there are fewer full-time jobs, writes Mark Bauerlein. That makes it easy to find people to teach freshman composition for low pay and no benefits.