As Evan Rowe reports, he and his fellow adjuncts are working to unionize at Broward College (it’s the community college of Broward County, FL, which includes Fort Lauderdale). Rowe is one of the BC army of adjuncts making $16k a year, usually teaching only one class fewer than tenure-track professors who make several times as much, get health benefits, have job security, and get keys to the tenured-faculty washroom, where they wear smoking jackets and eat bon-bons. OK, I’m exaggerating on the bon-bons, and no one ever gave me a smoking jacket. But here’s the main point: especially given the kind of “leadership” provided by BC president J. David Armstrong, this is further proof of the intentional casualization of the academic workforce for no other reason than to cut a few financial corners, burnish upper-administrators’ sense of toughness, and to deny faculty and any meaningful say over the terms of employment, much less curriculum or how universities ought to be run.
A video, in honor of More or less bunk, where Jonathan Rees has been chronicling Colorado State-Pueblo president Leslie Di Mare’s unilateral move to up faculty teaching loads from 3-3 to 4-4, as announced in this letter. As Historiann has noted, Di Mare’s letter is all passive: rather than Di Mare taking responsibility for the change, she’s shifting onto hapless chairs and directors to enforce, while taking none of the responsibility. Just like
BGSU’s Mary Ellen Mazey my august university president, Di Mare is quick for everyone else to sacrifice, while accepting no accountability. This is part-and-parcel of the corporatization of today’s universities: leadership enjoys increasingly high compensation, but blames workers for leadership’s failures, and increases workload and productivity without increasing compensation. In these ways, universities are just a microcosm for the US economy as a whole. But don’t blame poor university presidents: after all, it’s just the weather, isn’t it?
In my previous post, I noted that my august university has decided to
boondoggle outsource privatize another teaching function, in this case, aviation instruction, through the hiring of North Star Aviation and, presumably, moving university employees to North Star. Part of how outsourcing can be economically feasible is through paying employees less. Of course, it could be that North Star makes money simply by cheating customers, as is alleged in a lawsuit based partly on information from North Star employees. Did BGSU look into this before contracting with North Star? Maybe. Admittedly, it was really hard information to dig up: I had to open up a browser and type in “North Star aviation lawsuit” in the search box. So much for due diligence.
OK, so maybe this story hasn’t been reported over 200 million times. But still, in this recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, further evidence that a) most of the increased costs to students in education have come from the combination of increased administrative personnel and salaries and, in the case of public institutions, decreased state funding; and b) that faculty salaries in particular have stagnated over the that time. Actually it’s even worse for faculty than the reports, because of the increased casualization of the faculty workforce. When
blowhards casual observers of higher education or university corporate hacks upper administrators blame faculty compensation for the ostensible financial woes of higher education, it’s not about the actual finances. It’s about using this discourse about finances as a bludgeon to extract even more from faculty, with little long-term benefit to institutions and often outright damage to their educational mission and to students.