A university without professors is just a group of buildings full of students who want to learn. To say professors are necessary for a university’s function would be an understatement. But hiring a professor, at least in the standard way, is expensive.
Tenure or tenure-track professors are often associated with higher education. These professors are invested in by the university and must complete certain requirements in regards to research, paper publishing and years worked before receiving tenure. Positions like this are very lucrative and hard to come by as tenured professors are nearly guaranteed employment until they retire.
They are expensive for the university, since it is required to fund, at some level, the professors research and salary; the budget of a school would be very red if all faculty were tenured. Because of this, and the fact that tenure/tenure-track professors do not have the time or often the wish to teach as many classes as is needed, universities must hire adjunct professors to fill their courses.
By definition, adjunct professors are non-tenured professors who are hired on a semester basis and are paid per credit they teach. Salary is not great. Nationwide, adjunct professors make roughly $20,000 yearly, often without health insurance benefits. Because they are paid per credit and not required to work set amounts of hours, no minimum wage law applies to an adjunct’s salary. With all the money students pay to attend colleges, one would think the professors teaching the class would receive more in compensation.
While it is understandable that it is very expensive for a university to keep in operation, its professors are a critical part of this and should be compensated as such. Here at UConn, there are much more tenure/tenure-track professors compared to adjuncts, and even though adjuncts do get insurance compensations, the salary requires that many adjuncts are also on some sort of social welfare program and have great difficulty affording housing.
At a university, professors are crucial for our success and should be treated as such. It should be viewed as unacceptable that some of our educators live in worse conditions as we, as students, do. While the budget is tight, especially after cuts, adjunct professors should be given a larger piece of the pie than they currently do.