Monday, January 21, 2008

Exploiting Faculty and Cheating Students

University of Arkansas students are getting a raw deal. The problem is they're taking too many classes from part-time or adjunct professors. About half of the nation's college faculty members are now on part-time contracts. Adjuncts are cheaper for colleges, but they often lack the time and resources for focused teaching, and research shows students' performance can suffer if they are taught by these part-time wage slaves too often.

University of Arkansas faculty members are getting a raw deal, too. The excessive reliance on part-time faculty at the University of Arkansas threatens a basic principle of educational quality, namely, that a corps of full-time permanent tenured faculty should be in charge of the academic curriculum and teaching most of it. That is of little concern to UA administrators, who have reduced the number of full time faculty on this campus while hiring more high paid administrators and low paid adjunct faculty.

In a report just last month, a 30-member commission called for New York's SUNY and CUNY systems to alleviate the over reliance on adjuncts by hiring 2,000 more full-time faculty. Of course, the University of Arkansas could cut back on using adjuncts and pony up for better wages and more full-time jobs, but that would reduce money available for creating additional administrative positions for educational bureaucrats at much higher salaries.

AFSCME Local 965 supports the principle of equal pay for equal work for all workers, and we are committed to the principle of equal pay and benefits for equal work for part-time faculty with equivalent qualifications and experience. As we approach the 2008 legislative elections and the 2009 legislative session, we will mobilize at all levels through organizing and public policy advocacy to end the UA administration’s financial and professional exploitation of part-time faculty at the University of Arkansas.

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