New York Univesity in Manhattan, New York (via Carl Mueller’s Flickrstream)

After the “Art/Museum Salary Transparency” spreadsheet and the ensuing “Arts + Museums Transparency Internship Survey” made waves this summer, a new Google spreadsheet circulating on the web is allowing adjunct professors in colleges and universities to share their salaries and working conditions. The spreadsheet, simply titled “Adjuncts Rates,” has so far garnered about 250 entries from adjunct professors across the United States. The project was launched by Erin Bartram, a historian and academic.

A great number of the adjuncts hold PhD degrees in a variety of disciplines. The majority of the adjuncts report that they do not belong to a union.

“Pay was stuck at $2,175/course, now slowly going up,” an adjunct professor of Liberal Arts at the Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pennsylvania wrote in the spreadsheet. The professor’s current pay rate per course stands at $2,400. “No benefits, no parking, no office, strict 3 class cap per term,” shared an English and Philosophy professor who is teaching at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He reports that his pay rate per course at $3,000. A music professor at New York University (NYU) reported better conditions. “Health, dental, and vision insurance after 1 year of 40-contact hours; retirement benefits from year 1,” the NYU adjunct wrote. The professor reported a salary of $3,850 per course.

Tenure-track positions are dwindling at academic institutions across the country. According to a 2018 report issued by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), 73% of all faculty positions in US colleges and universities are contingent workers who are off the tenure track. As a result, academics with high degrees find themselves stranded in low-paying teaching jobs for years. A full-time job is considered to be three classes per semester, but many adjuncts are forced to teach a lot more courses at several institutions to make ends meet.

“For the most part, these are insecure, unsupported positions with little job security and few protections for academic freedom,” reads the AAUP’s report. “Many contingent faculty members may be excellent teachers, they are not given adequate institutional support to perform their jobs.”

Update 9/5/19 4:06pm: This article has been updated to identify the creator of the “Adjuncts Rates” spreadsheets, Erin Bartram.

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...

5 replies on “Adjunct Professors Share Salaries and Working Conditions in a New Spreadsheet”

    1. Idiot, these people had to study for many years and definitely deserve more than a McDonald’s pay. What they pay them is the typical pay for someone who only has a HS degree. It is called abuse. Look it up if you do not know what the word means.

    2. $2500 for 4 months of work seems poverty level to me, especially if you think of all the work outside of teaching the actual course (course planning, grading, office hours, etc). Especially if you think of all the money universities are pulling in per student.

  1. it is low pay and some colleges (mine) cap the number of courses one can teach so teaching more to make ends meet isn’t an option. Those that do allow an adjunct to teach more are compromising the quality of the courses-if you are teaching 4-6 courses per semester, there is no way you can do all the prep/outside work to make that course as strong as it could be. Lose. Lose. And if you were paying big $ to go to college (or for your kid to go) you have a right to expect teachers who can devote the necessary time (including an office for office hrs.) to their students.

    AS well, because of the pay, most adjuncts have to have other jobs. So it is surely a big problem.

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