Tag Archives: Contingent and Adjunct Faculty

What Happened in Your State This February?

capitol-building-150x150This past month, twenty policy analysts published reports about what occurred in the following states: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

ESSA Implementation

Louisiana: Clancy Ratliff posted Louisiana Department of Education Publishes Public Feedback on ESSA.

Virginia: In Virginia’s Transition to ESSA, Mabel Khawaja examined ESSA implementation through the lens of both K–12 and higher education.

Vermont: Anne Slonaker shared Vermont’s State Plan in response to ESSA.

Ohio: Robin Holland noted that Ohio’s ESSA Draft Plan (was) Now Available for Comments.

Readers may want to visit ESSA Implementation in the States to see what your state is doing.

Higher Education

Idaho: In 60X20 in Idaho: Update on Complete College Idaho, Karen Uehling noted the formation of a task force by the governor, the governor’s “adult complete” scholarships, and a proposed new community college.

Indiana: Katherine Wills described a dual credit program between a Fort Wayne high school and East Allen University that endeavors to ensure that refugee students have the same opportunities to succeed in college as their non-refugee classmates.

Washington: Amanda Espinosa-Aguilar shared concerns about dual enrollment.

Connecticut: Stephen Ferruci analyzed Proposed Legislation Regarding DREAMERs, Illegal Aliens, and Higher Education in CT with legislators proposing bills reflecting both sides of the debate.

Nebraska: Gretchen Oltman wrote about Governor Ricketts agreeing to cut only $13.3 million from the University of Nebraska’s current budget.

Georgia: Janice Walker shared that Senate Bill 79 would create a gaming commission, and a portion of revenue generated by casinos would be directed toward scholarships.

North Dakota: In Updated North Dakota 2017, Ronda Marman reported the following:

  • The governor cut the North Dakota University System by 20%.
  • A regulation proposing to reduce notice of termination to faculty from one year to 90 days generated a lot of comment.
  • A new workforce report was released.

California:  In his Report on Contingent Faculty in Higher Education, Dan Melzer wrote, “contingent faculty are now the majority of all faculty at U.S. colleges and universities.”

Kentucky: Mary P. Sheridan encouraged faculty and educators in Kentucky to look at the impact of charter schools as Kentucky decides whether to allow them.


Idaho: Darlene Dyer reported that the State Board of Education will oversee the evaluation process, and monies are to be allocated to train administrators and supervisors to conduct the evaluations.

Arkansas: Grover Welch shared that the Arkansas Senate Education Committee passed legislation that would exempt records of “security incidents, emergency planning and those that [can] ‘reasonably be expected to be detrimental to the public safety’” from FOIA.

Minnesota: Ezra Hyland posted a number of reports:

New Jersey: Kristen Turner wrote that the New Jersey Board of Education rejected proposed amendments that would give charter schools “the authority to grant provisional and standard certificates.”

Pennsylvania: Aileen Hower shared two articles about the following:

Pre-K–12 and Higher Education

Michigan: Leslie Roberts discusses the debate in Michigan regarding the retention of the Common Core. 

South Dakota: Liza Hazlett posted 2016–2017 Raises for SD Educators Facing Discrepancies and Discord.

What Happened in Your State this September?

capitol buildingThis past month, fifteen policy analysts published reports about what occurred in the following states: California, Connecticut, Idaho, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Higher Education

Stephen Ferruci previews a bill in Connecticut that would help undocumented students “access institutional financial assistance.”

Dan Melzer describes legislation that passed in California, awaiting the governor’s signature, in AB 1690 Outlines Minimum Standards for Adjunct Instructors at California Community Colleges.

Michael Gos continues his series in Campus Carry Law VI, noting that the injunction requested by three professors against enforcement of the new University of Texas campus carry policy was denied while the lawsuit moves forward.

Higher Education/P–12 Education

As part of a trend all over the United States, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Adopts Emergency Teacher Licensing Rules to Address Teacher Shortage. Donna Pasternak notes that softening licensing requirements for K–12 teachers will impact not only school districts but also schools of education and departments of English.

Derek Kulnis describes New York City’s efforts to diversify its teaching force through a program called NYC Men Teach, which recruits men of color through mentoring programs or alternative pathways.

Michael Gos outlines the budget cuts, requested by Texas leaders, to all state agencies, including K–12 and higher education, noting the particular impact on community colleges.

P–12 Education

In Keystone Test No Longer an Exit Exam, Aileen Hower notes that Pennsylvania is reviewing alternative assessments. New Jersey, on the other hand, will “triple the weight of PARCC scores in teacher evaluations,” according to Kristen Turner.

Again in Pennsylvania, Aileen Hower shares Katie Meyer’s article about the National Labor Relations Board ruling that a virtual charter school should be classified as a private corporation, not a public institution. Aileen also published Judge: Lower Merion Schools Misled Taxpayers, Must Revoke Tax Hike, revealing that the Merion school district had a budget surplus.

Darlene Dyer writes about Mastery Education a Reality in Idaho; in mastery education, students “advance from grade to grade based on mastering concepts instead of seat time or a passing grade.”

Karen Henderson reports that MATELA (the Montana Association of Teachers of English Language Arts) will have a “significant presence” at the Montana Educators’ Conference in October through a number of presentations.

In response to a Montana State Board of Education ruling on writing programs, MATELA issued its own policy statement, which Anna Baldwin describes in Policy Assistance Offered for Significant Writing Programs.

Tiffany Rehbein reports from Wyoming that ACT Scores Increase[d] and Town Hall Meetings Give Wyoming Residents Voice on ESSA Implementation.

Robin Holland has been following teachers in Cleveland, posting these two reports: Cleveland Teachers Set to Strike in Ohio and Teacher Strike Averted in Cleveland, Ohio.

Clancy Ratliff describes the release by the Louisiana State Board of Education of a Digital Literacy Guide. Jalissa Bates shares that Louisiana Children with Disabilities Receive Boost with Federal Grant of $7 million.

Pamela Doiley questions whether Massachusetts will pass financial literacy legislation.

Derek Kulnis reports that New York City will revise the way it tests water for lead in all of its schools.

A Forum for the Contingent Teacher

The following post is by NCTE member Amy Lynch-Biniek and editor of Forum: Issues about Part-Time and Contingent Faculty

Amy Lynch-BiniekI’m lucky—I have a secure tenure-track position as a Composition professor at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.  For ten years previous, I worked as an adjunct professor. I was part-time, picking up classes where I could. At first, I was supplementing my income as a secondary education English teacher: I’d guide 9th graders through Romeo and Juliet by day, and teach college freshmen Othello at night. Later, I decided to pursue college teaching full-time, but as I worked on my Ph.D., it became clear to me that “full time” was going to be hard to come by. Again, I got lucky: graduates hoping to become professors soon discover the odds are stacked against them.

In an era beset by austerity measures, teachers from elementary to post-secondary are competing for fewer positions. Writing on FiveThirtyEight, Ben Casselman shares the sobering news that on the secondary level, “As millions of children across the country head back to school this month, they will be returning to schools with fewer teachers than in past years. Those teachers will be paid less, on average. And many of them will be working in school systems that receive less funding.”  The news is no better for those of us in higher ed: as states have slashed budgets, more and more tenure-track professors have disappeared along with the funding.

As the number of permanent positions dwindles, the number of adjunct positions is on the rise—an estimated 75% of professors nationwide now work on some form of contingent contract. English departments are sadly at the forefront of this trend. Whether called adjunct, visiting, or temporary, these faculty are less likely to have health insurance, to take part in curriculum planning, and to enjoy academic freedom. While the persistent stereotype of a college professor is a tweed-wearing, Volvo-driving, upper-middle class man, the average adjunct teacher is a woman pulling in just $2,987 per three-credit course. Many profs are on public assistance.

The NCTE peer-reviewed journal Forum: Issues about Part-Time and Contingent Faculty is dedicated to considering how these conditions impact both teachers and students. Contributors explore what it means to teach writing, literature, and communication under this system. They analyze the effects of ongoing reforms and propose new approaches. They are making some much needed noise. Forum is one of the very few publications in English dedicated to shining a light on the concerns of contingent faculty, and NCTE makes it free to access via our website.

As the editor of Forum, I’m especially excited to mentor adjunct, graduate, and junior scholars with an interest in the intersections of English studies, pedagogy, and labor. If you have an idea for an article, I hope you’ll drop me a line: @amylynchbiniek on Twitter or lynchbin@kutztown.edu.

It’s easy for us teachers to feel overwhelmed in the face of so many challenges. But I’m convinced by the excellent work of organizations like The New Faculty Majority and many others around the country that we can make a difference when we keep writing back, speaking up, and acting up.  Join me in making some noise!

Amy Lynch-Biniek is the Coordinator of Composition and an associate professor of Composition at Kutztown University, part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. She is the current editor of Forum: Issues about Part-Time & Contingent Faculty.