Press pause, delve into the week’s biggest story, and learn what it means for you. Delivered on Saturdays. To read this newsletter as soon as it sends, sign up to receive it in your email inbox.
From: Fernanda Zamudio-Suarez
Subject: Weekly Briefing: A nightmarish situation
We're sorry. Something went wrong.
We are unable to fully display the content of this page.
The most likely cause of this is a content blocker on your computer or network.
If you continue to experience issues, please contact us at 202-466-1032 or email@example.com
An adjunct got a call asking him why he didn’t teach his first week of classes
But here’s the problem. Crenshaw, an author who has worked as an adjunct professor, , told the official that he hadn’t been told about the course — or two others he was ostensibly supposed to be teaching.
It’s a scene out of the academic-nightmare playbook.
Crenshaw, who didn’t want to embarrass the college by naming it, said that he searched his email and didn’t find a message or a contract to confirm the class, though he had taught at the institution last fall. He believes the college made an honest mistake.
The mix-up, which Crenshaw described on the social-media platform X, highlights the struggle that contingent faculty members face. Colleges rely more on adjuncts now that tenured and tenure-track professors are a minority of the teaching staff. Adjuncts, meanwhile, sometimes have to teach at several institutions to cobble together a living wage, often cycling in and out of employment at those colleges.
In an interview with our Zachary Schermele, Crenshaw said he’s been an adjunct instructor for most of his career. His colleagues who have been full-time professors are typically kind, and express their desire to help adjuncts, he said. That sentiment is great, but lasting change will happen only if the country rethinks how it views higher education.
As for adjuncts who read this newsletter or Zach’s story and are thinking twice about their field, if they love teaching and are passionate about it, they should stick around, Crenshaw said.
Adjuncts who want to teach should try to become part of the fabric of their departments, he said.
He also called for a greater change: nationwide unionization. That could help the adjuncts who teach classes at various colleges, he said.
- Read. If you’re a fan of the product-recommendation and -review website Wirecutter, you may have noticed that something has been off with the recommendations in the past few years. This article explains what’s been going on. (The Atlantic)
- Listen. Soak up the last few (official) weekends of summer with the 1981 album La Voce Del Padrone by the Italian musician Franco Battiato. The album name roughly translates to “his master’s voice” — fitting because many of the songs became Italian classics. (Spotify)
Chronicle Top Reads
Tainted TreasuresEmory University’s art museum wanted only the finest artifacts. Hundreds of them are tied to convicted and alleged traffickers.
Lost in Translation?The provost’s office recommended dissolving the world-languages department. Critics of the decision say the flagship is abandoning its responsibility to the state.