We have been called to respond tangibly
to the crisis in higher education.
Our growing numbers, poor working conditions, lack of job stability, lack of health benefits, lack of retirement savings, and poverty wages have provided a catalyst for action. Up to 75% of university faculty in America are non-tenure track. This number comprises all non-tenure track faculty and part-time adjunct instructors paid by the course. While our long-term goal is to ensure positive working conditions for all contingent faculty throughout and beyond the United States and thus return the focus of higher education to student learning, our short-term goal is to help adjuncts when they need it most.
Semester breaks are difficult for adjuncts, who often go without a paycheck from the end of December until mid-February. As bills pile and holidays are stretched, stress is inevitable. The summer months can be fraught with financial hardship. We have begun the journey to full 501(c)(3) status, seeking to provide temporary, welcome relief from the economic, emotional, and physiological stressors that all too often define an adjunct’s life by matching donations to adjuncts in need.
The shift in hiring practices for the past 40 years shows the preference for hiring contingent and non-tenure track faculty, as well as a steep rise in non-faculty professional positions. Simultaneously, the rise in tenure-track positions has been minimal. The real-world result of this practice has been an increase in the precariat—insecure, unsupported and economically unsustainable positions for those who hold them.