April 24, 2003

"Thanks for Helping Out": An Adjunct Explains Why He Quit

"One short interaction with such an administrator prompted me to get out of teaching for good. Near the parking lot one day, I introduced myself to the president of our community college. 'My name's Matt Hall,' I said. 'I teach English here part time.' Our president looked at me and said, 'Thanks for helping out.'
Helping out? I watched as he got into his brand-new Lexus and drove away..."

-- Matt Hall, "Why I Quit Adjunct Teaching"

I sometimes complain that the Chronicle of Higher Education's coverage of academic labour issues is altogether too optimistic. But here they have published an essay that speaks to some of the grim realities -- and that captures some of the fundamental absurdities -- of adjunctification, and with wit and humour. A must-read for adjuncts.

Posted by Invisible Adjunct at April 24, 2003 01:02 PM

What a wonderful article and right on about the experiences of adjunct life! Many tenured professors like to portray themselves as "barely getting by" but the Lexus encounter is by far more the norm for both administrators and professors. The social class differences between part-time and full-time faculty are widening all the time and no one wants to talk about it.

Posted by: Cat at April 24, 2003 02:24 PM

I just read this and came over here to see if you'd linked it. Well okay then!

The parking lot encounter is priceless.

Posted by: T. V. at April 24, 2003 06:46 PM

It is priceless, isn't it? I can just picture the president, I know that type all too well (don't we all?). Kudos to Matt Hall for making it funny.

Posted by: Invisible Adjunct at April 25, 2003 01:50 AM

The portrait of the President rings true. At the University I attend (as a seemingly eternal part-time undergrad), there was something of a scandal over the $300,000+ salary that the university president got...at a time when the University was among the lowest rated in all of Canada. The only response was that the President moved out of the house that the University provided for him...it was later sold, I believe. I'm sure that helped a lot of TAs and Adjunct professors to stop eating Kraft Dinner....not.

Posted by: Dr_Funk at May 12, 2003 10:13 PM

If 300,000 for a university president is still cause for scandal, you are still in a relative age of innocence. Damn. I'm homesick for Canada.

Posted by: Invisible Adjunct at May 12, 2003 11:07 PM