“It’s not that bad” – acknowledging privilege when critiquing the ‘Adjunct Narrative’


The Smart Casual

Please note: In this blog post I use the term ‘adjunct’, as that is the nomenclature used by my casual colleagues in the US. It is not exactly interchangeable with “casual” as we use it in Australian higher education, which is why I did not just substitute it in. However the issues faced by adjuncts in the US are parallel to the ones faced by casual academics in Australia, and this is the position I am taking with this post.

At the moment there is an outpouring of adjunct/casual rage within the blogging world. There is a seething undercurrent of resentment and hostility, where my casual colleagues are sharing their adjunct stories and communicating outside of the parameters of the networks offered by their institution to forge friendships and alliances. Their seems to be consensus that casualised staff within the higher education sector are marginalised and excluded, that…

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On Recognizing Privilege


Bad Cover Version

By now, you may have seen this post on the Chronicle Vitae site. In it, Kelli Marshall, a lecturer at DePaul University, talks about her job as an adjunct as a pretty pleasurable experience. And, really, reading her description: it’s not so bad. She apparently makes more than most adjuncts (almost the starting salary of an assistant professor, she says), has a decent commute, has an office, and is fairly secure in her situation. Oh, and she has a husband, also in academia, with a full-time job.

Now, if you caught me on a really good day, that description could be me (except that my husband is not in academia). On a bad day, like today, when it took me over an hour to commute 3.7 miles via bus, you will only get scowls from my general direction. I’ve been teaching at the same two institutions for the past five…

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