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Standing with Adjunct Faculty

Standing with Adjunct Faculty

An April 2013 report on academic labor in the United States showed that in 2011, adjunct faculty accounted for over 40% of the higher education instructional workforce. In some colleges in Ohio, adjuncts teach 80% of all classes and they are the first instructors that greet incoming undergraduates. However, adjuncts are paid very poorly and often not included in the life of campuses. Despite this climate, adjuncts develop strong relationships with their students, but often have little power to advocate for them. What if we told our parents that 80% of their school-aged-children would be taught by substitutes?

In the Midwest, adjuncts have organized unions and addressed the inequity through collective bargaining. However, here in Ohio adjuncts are excluded from collective bargaining by law. Initially, adjuncts were excluded because it was argued that they were not a significant part of the labor force. Thirty years later, the face of academic labor has changed, but our institutions continue to offer no substantial commitments towards adjuncts. This lack of commitment signals disrespect towards Ohio’s instructors, but also to the future of our students.

In response, adjuncts have formed the Ohio Part Time Faculty Association to advocate for the welfare of adjuncts, their students, and institutions. In partnership with OPTFA, on October 26th, the will host a Campus Equity Week Summit. The goal of this summit is to create a coalition to educate Ohioans about the inequities within higher education today: Ohio’s current higher education formula, decreasing public support, increasing student debt, and the exploitation of adjuncts – is not sustainable and is injurious to all of us. If you are an OEA member involved in higher education, and are interested in attending, please contact Matt Ides at idesm@ohea.org.

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