Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Topic: Two-Year Community Colleges

10-second review: Part-time or “adjunct” faculty teach a high percentage of community college writing courses. This author takes a dim view of part-time instructors.

Title: "Remembering, Regretting and Rejoicing: The Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Two-Year College Regionals.” Elizabeth McPherson. College Composition and Communication (May 1990), 137 -150. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Quote: “Nowadays half the composition classes in some community colleges are taught by part-timers, euphemistically known as ‘adjunct faculty.’ Part-timers, although many of them are well-qualified, do not attend department meetings, do not subscribe to journals, do not go to professional conferences—and do not receive a third of the pay or any of the benefits a full-time teacher gets for the same work. Neither do they receive the supervision and advice a teaching assistant is given at a good university. If TA’s [teaching assistants] are the slave labor of the universities, part-timers have become the slave labor of the community colleges. Part-timers are today’s educational underdogs.”

Comments: Ouch! For three and a half years, I taught English composition in a community college. Although I was a bit different from the stereotype described in the above quote in that I subscribe to a dozen professional English education journals, all the rest of the description applied to me. I had no one to talk to, was not a part of the full-time faculty and the full-time faculty made me feel that way: they felt and acted as if they were superior to me. I received no encouragement from anyone, realized from speeches by the administration that I was a big part of keeping tuition low, and there was no consistent curriculum.

The students in my community college ranged from four-year college drop-outs starting over again, adults returning to begin a college career (delightful) and students with serious learning disabilities (a problem that required a continuing dialogue among teachers as the students moved through the system). No such dialogue was available.

These students deserved better. RayS.

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