To the Editor:
“The Hard Truths of the Academic-Labor Crisis” (The Chronicle Review, November 17) provided an excellent comparison of contrasting differences of real situations which are both dependent on adjunct labor. But the important hard truth in this analysis and most higher-education analysis that is not stated is the reality of research costs.
The tenured professors are subsidized across the board to do research. Some is subsidized by governmental or industry grants, but most research as a direct university cost is paid for by tuition. The important figure — the dollar amount of a tenured faculty member to do research. For example, a professor in the English department who makes $100,000 per year is subsidized by the university for teaching two classes and a 50-percent research load. It is almost impossible to find analyses that calculate that cost.
As a former department chair who might have between 50 and 60 adjuncts teaching at reduced wages, it is easy to spot both the stated problem of low wages for adjuncts and non-tenured faculty and the unstated problem of faculty research. When I started teaching, I had a 15-hour teaching load; when I retired I was teaching two classes.
Don M. Boileau
George Mason University