One of the things I’ve seen making the rounds on the interwebs is links to this post at the blog Homeless Adjunct, “Managerial Madness: Why Higher Education Has Lost Its Way.” It’s a little “frothy at the mouth” for my own personal tastes, but they do have a point: the disparity between the salaries of “managers” and “teachers/workers” in higher education is increasing, especially if you factor on non-tenure-track/part-time folks. Here’s a long quote:
The enormous gap between the CEO-like salaries of higher education executives and the faculty who are actually doing the teaching has followed the route of corporate salaries and earning gaps across the country. The issue is compounded by the explosive growth of administrative jobs in academia, as so well presented by Dr. Benjamin Ginsberg of Johns Hopkins in his book, The Fall of the Faculty. For him, the most serious outcome of this executive bloat is the shift of university resources and focus away from the quality of education and scholarly research, in favor of financially supporting the army of administrators who, he claims, do little to advance the purported mission of the university. Instead, he claims, these “deanlets” cause great harm, often becoming “instruments of administrative imperialism and academic destruction.”(http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/07/14/new_book_argues_bloated_administration_is_what_ails_higher_education#ixzz1wqrIJyqc )
It has taken nearly 30 years for people outside of academia to see just how terrible things in higher education are. But, as is often the case, the public is lead by a misinformed or underinformed media, to blame both the collapse of our colleges quality and the uncontrolled tuition growth on the professors. Even Vice President Joe Biden laid the blame for explosive tuition rates, incorrectly and unfairly, at the feet of supposedly overpaid faculty. The narrative often includes an attack on “the lazy tenured professor”. The truth is that tenured professors, and those on the tenure track not yet fully tenured, make up barely 30% of the university professors in America now. The majority, 70%, of all those who teach in college classrooms are now hired as “adjuncts”, “contingents”, “part-time” faculty, earning, on average less than $30,000 a year — often, as I noted before, by cobbling a living together by working several jobs, some academic, some non-academic. These professionals have no healthcare, no benefits; they struggle with precarious short-term contract jobs, little to no professional support, and are even denied appropriate office space in which to meet their students. Having little to no voice in today’s university, the professors often find themselves powerless to block the administrative imperialism to which Dr. Ginsberg refers.
The part-time issue is definitely a complicated one, but I do see their point for sure.