The Adjunct Underclass

About the Author: Herb Childress

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Adjunct Underclass book, this is one of the most wanted Herb Childress author readers around the world.


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  • Hardcover
  • 208 pages
  • The Adjunct Underclass
  • Herb Childress
  • 07 June 2018
  • 9780226496665

The Adjunct Underclass Class Ends Students Pack Up And Head Back To Their Dorms The Professor, Meanwhile, Goes To Her Car To Catch A Little Sleep, And Then Eat A Cheeseburger In Her Lap Before Driving Across The City To A Different University To Teach Another, Wholly Different Class All For A Paycheck That, Once Prep And Grading Are Factored In, Barely Reaches Minimum Wage Welcome To The Life Of The Mind In The Gig Economy Over The Past Few Decades, The Job Of College Professor Has Been Utterly Transformed For The Worse America S Colleges And Universities Were Designed To Serve Students And Create Knowledge Through The Teaching, Research, And Stability That Come With The Longevity Of Tenured Faculty, But Higher Education Today Is Dominated By Adjuncts In 1975, Only Thirty Percent Of Faculty Held Temporary Or Part Time Positions By 2011, As Universities Faced Both A Decrease In Public Support And Ballooning Administrative Costs, That Number Topped Fifty Percent Now, Some Surveys Suggest That As Many As Seventy Percent Of American Professors Are Working Course To Course, With Few Benefits, Little To No Security, And Extremely Low Pay In The Adjunct Underclass, Herb Childress Draws On His Own Firsthand Experience And That Of Other Adjuncts To Tell The Story Of How Higher Education Reached This Sorry State Pinpointing Numerous Forces Within And Beyond Higher Ed That Have Driven This Shift, He Shows Us The Damage Wrought By Contingency, Not Only On The Adjunct Faculty Themselves, But Also On Students, The Permanent Faculty And Administration, And The Nation How Can We Say That We Value Higher Education When We Treat Educators Like Desperate Day Laborers Measured But Passionate, Rooted In Facts But Sure To Shock, The Adjunct Underclass Reveals The Conflicting Values, Strangled Resources, And Competing Goals That Have Fundamentally Changed Our Idea Of What College Should Be This Book Is A Call To Arms For Anyone Who Believes That Strong Colleges Are Vital To Society.

10 thoughts on “The Adjunct Underclass

  1. Peter Mcloughlin says:

    If you think the laws of capitalism were somehow not something academics had to worry about you d be wrong Although the Tenure Track professors are doing fine thank you, there is a class of postdoc the NonTenure Track adjunct who is a Ph.D level burger flipper Made to teach a semester course at an average rate of 2700 dollars per course when the hours put in are calculated comes out to less than minimum wage in some states in the US This is a class of workers who have the highest credentials but make low wages, have no job security, are subject to harassment and must remain silent or face reprisal, in other words, marginal as the most exploited workers in this economy yet entrusted to teach intro courses to freshman at most universities This is a bad situation for the adjuncts, the students and yes even the shrinking number of privileged Tenure Track professors who colleges have slowly been replacing with academic burger flippers Eye opening and di...

  2. Marks54 says:

    First things first I made a decision long ago that I would not work as a contingent faculty member or a contingent anything, I might add Several acquaintances of mine work as adjuncts but I have only recommended and supported such work for them in specific situations I also know acquaintances or their children who have moved into academia via grad programs and obtaining a new doctorate This is also a highly risky proposition these days, and possible only for a select few individuals I am very familiar with the conditions analyzed by Mr Childress His book capably presents them and provides reasonably current statistics to show the current gloomy state of affairs In his critique of the state of adjunct faculty, Mr Childress is preaching to the choir as far as I am concerned My biggest issue with his book is figuring out just what he is preaching.To start with, the issues in the book are well known to most who are directly involved in higher education these days The plight of adjuncts is not new and has been bad for quite a while So what is new here Mr Childress seems to take as a major issue in the book that the prevalence of adjuncts harms the ability of higher education institutions to fulfill their missions of enabling the personal fulfillment of undergrads and of instructors by impeding the ability of students and instructors to interact on a continuing and produ...

  3. Neil R. Coulter says:

    For anyone who has kept up with the Chronicle of Higher Education regularly over the last several years or , The Adjunct Underclass reads like a greatest hits compilation of all that we ve seen at CHE, week after week In fact, CHE is where I first heard about this book What sets Herb Childress s book apart is the clear, well reasoned argument that he steadily builds through the book Also, you don t have to endure the arrogant grandstanding and childish bickering in the comments section, which is apparently an essential part of any article posted to the CHE website I love books This is the kind of book that people like me, who have been shut out of the collegiate life we once dreamed of, will both cheer for and weep over It resonates so deeply with those disappointed hopes I don t know if people who have achieved their tenure track university dreams will understand the book they may feel that it is unfair or too extreme.I ll mention a few specific points that I especially enjoyed The first is Childress s explanation of why, despite ...

  4. CarolynKost says:

    Reading this book makes me want to give Childress a hug and some warm cocoa as he rails at the loss of the relational university, which emphasized the experience and connections to be made between professors and students, rather than the credit hour credential consumer model that has quickly spread like a virus to institutions of every stripe Education has fallen victim to neoliberalism, in which everything is a commodity and people are regarded as buyers, sellers and service providers Faculty have become contingent workers like everyone else They work longer hours as independent contractors constantly seeking gigs to make ends meet, with no safety nets like health benefits, unemployment insurance, job security, etc So much for the life of the mind, but we allowed the erosion of the labor movement and no one is exempt, even in the ivory tower.I m not unsympathetic and I do wax nostalgic, but it s basic supply and demand There is a glut of PhDs on the market right now Humanities PhDs are a dime a dozen while Engineering and Pharmacy are few If there are funds for only 2 tenure track positions, it s obvious who will receive the offers and who will not Chapter 2 demonstrates how faculty student ratios are manipulated to hide the fact that 75% of instructors are non tenure track, should anyone care Childress does, bu...

  5. William Koon says:

    I must start by saying some of my closest friends are adjuncts And I never thought I would use that language Herb Childress The Adjunct Underclass, How America s Colleges Betrayed Their Faculty, Their Students, and Their Mission explains in detail exactly what he proposes American higher education has gone to hell It has gone to hell quite rapidly And one of the biggest reasons is adjunct or part time faculty It s not so much their fault as it is the administrations who hike tuition costs while spending less and less on teaching And there are other reasons too Childress points out that adjuncts are the Uber drivers of education It s a gig economy But in the meantime, there are really no jobs available for full time faculty And various majors are just disappearing or at best fading Some community colleges are 90 100% part time faculty who are paid very poorly He notes that the higher rated schools such as Stanford, Harvard, Brown have the fewest part time faculty, while...

  6. Kate says:

    Not perfect, but important in starting a long overdue conversation about the future of higher education Everyone in academia or wanting to be in academia should read this book I especially appreciated this book after reading Tressie McMillan Cottom s LOWER ED and seeing...

  7. Chris Nagel says:

    The butler did it.The bulk of this book is taken up with diagnosis of the problem of precarious employment in college teaching For me, and for most people with reasonable familiarity with the issue, this will be nothing new at all In some ways, the analysis in these chapters is less fine toothed than in other books notably Marc Bousquet s How the University Works.But the last chapter and the Aftermath are very worthwhile I have not read a better expression of the emotional and spiritual damage we contingent faculty suffer and I include myself even though I am among the very most privileged non tenure track faculty in the US, both because I m full time and because I m covered by one of the best collective bargaining agreements in the US, between the California Faculty Association and Cal State University Childress clearly articulates the absurdity of our positions and how like abusive relationships, dysfunctional families, or addiction our careers are I think there s a key to survival hidden in that You have to give up the delusion that permanent, tenured employment is possible for you It s a struggle, one I still have, but it s the only way I have been able to think of my stat...

  8. Chris says:

    A good book that doesn t tell you anything you don t know if you have been following this issue for some time, but it offers up to date numbers and brings it to 2019 The book is also written in an accessible style, which is appreciated if it wants to reach a wider audience of undergrads, grad students, etc In part, the points here cannot be said enough college is about relationships and student success depends on such relationships that good teaching is expensive that there are a misalignment of priorities At times, the book can sound a bit jaundiced as the author himself admits during its final chapter Things are bleak, for sure, but not quite as hopeless as he sometimes portrays Also, I have an issue with his statement We will not eliminate contingency through battles, through unions and collective bargaining, because we can make a school pay people better without respecting them any fully 154 True, but union are not simply about pay, but precisely about defining education, faculty governance, and the ways the university works To dismiss union struggles as if they are not central to improving faculty working conditions and redefining the university is to totally misunderstand unions and their importance of social struggle I would like to read just once a book about contingency, adjunctification and the corporatization of the university that actually does link its solution with collective action and union efforts The fact that no one, as far as I know, has done...

  9. Beth says:

    Everyone who works in higher education should read this Herb Childress cuts to the heart of the contingency crisis how we got here, why no one is untouched, and what systemic change would really look like for U.S colleges and universities.

  10. Heather says:

    A former insider s view into the seedy world of contingency in higher ed Not a ton I didn t already know, but super straight forward and concise for anyone to pick up and read especially parents of future college students.