A recent GoodCall report ranked the University of Connecticut in the twentieth percentile for adjunct working conditions, yet the validity and the basis of the report has received criticism. Through its faulty criteria and resulting problematic findings, this report displays better working conditions than adjunct professors are actually given. This obscures a real problem with adjunct professors both here at UConn and in academia as a whole.
In its report, the financial data information website Goodcall considered average monthly pay, the student-teacher ratio, student graduation rates and the affordability of living in the area. They also compared the salary to faculty who are tenured and tenure-track. However, this report is flawed. It lumps adjunct faculty with full-time non-tenure track professors. The report found that UConn, ranked 58th out of 292 schools throughout the country, paid adjunct professors on average $8,352 a month.
Yael Schaefer, an adjunct professor of history, English, and American studies at UConn’s Hartford campus, considers this number high, stating, “I can guarantee to you that no adjunct at UConn gets paid $8,000 a month.”
The American Association of University Professors Internal Organizer Christopher Henderson also regards this number as high and believes that is because the report included non-tenure track professors. Henderson states that the minimum pay for a three credit course is $4,668 per semester, and there is a cap at eight credits per semester for adjunct professors. This means that many adjunct professors can only teach six credits. Due to this report’s combining of adjunct and full time non-tenure track professors’ information, the truth about adjunct professors’ unfair pay and treatment is concealed.
Instead of the report’s $8,352 a month, Schaefer estimates adjunct professors make about $2,700 a month, about $20,000 in an academic year. Adjunct professors do not receive health benefits, research funding or job security, and are paid an average of three times less than tenured professors. Yet, most have the same qualifications. In order to earn a living wage, many adjunct professors must work at other surrounding colleges or find supplemental jobs. This necessity for adjuncts to work multiple jobs can negatively impact the amount of time they can dedicate to the best education for their students.
The conditions for adjunct professors are a problem, and the report by GoodCall does not properly represent it. There must be another report that researches the true conditions of adjunct professors without including full time non-tenure track professors. UConn also must make the conditions of its adjunct professors a priority, because they provide the same education as professors and do not receive close to the same conditions.