Put Your Money Where Your Adjuncts Are

Comments here and elsewhere on The Chronicle’s pages indicate that some people are tired of hearing about contingent-faculty issues. I’m sorry for those readers—how frustrating to not have everything geared toward your needs. Imagine how those of us off the tenure track feel when virtually all content about higher education speaks to a reality that we aren’t experiencing.

I recently applied for and received a grant to attend a national conference. The funds, from the National Council of Teachers of English, won’t pay for all my expenses, but do cover a nice chunk. The Professional Equity Project serves “to support the concerns of part-time and adjunct faculty, such as improving working conditions and promoting the scholarship of teaching.”

Funding opportunities for adjuncts are few and far between, though some colleges offer small professional-development grants. With limited budgets, I certainly understand that dollars have to be stretched and not everyone can get the money that they want. But with so many contingent professors, there is a need for financial support if we want them to stay up to date on what is happening in their fields. Even if I were presenting at a conference, my institution has a strict policy of no travel money for adjuncts.

Frankly, this is an area where institutions could really do more for contingent faculty without spending very much money. Such support would go a long way in terms of training and morale.

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