Tag Archives: Inside Higher Ed

Adjunct professors are the new serfs

4 Feb

Moi has posted quite a bit about adjunct professors. In USC study: Adjunct faculty pay disparity can be fixed at reasonable cost, she wrote:
A good basic description of teacher tenure as found at teacher tenure. James gives the following definition:

Tenure is a form of job security for teachers who have successfully completed a probationary period. Its primary purpose is to protect competent teachers from arbitrary nonrenewal of contract for reasons unrelated to the educational process — personal beliefs, personality conflicts with administrators or school board members, and the like.
The type and amount of protection vary from state to state and — depending on agreements with teachers’ unions — may even vary from school district to school district. In general, a tenured teacher is entitled to due process when he or she is threatened with dismissal or nonrenewal of contract for cause: that is, for failure to maintain some clearly defined standard that serves an educational purpose. http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-925/tenure.htm

Time has a good summary of the history of teacher tenure at A Brief History of Tenure http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1859505,00.html https://drwilda.com/2013/09/10/northwestern-university-study-adjunct-faculty-better-teachers-at-one-school/

Joanne Jacobs posted Adjuncts v. Fulltime Faculty at Community College Spotlight:

Retired State Sen. Ken Jacobsen once called Washington state’s community colleges “a chain of academic sweatshops,” Longmate writes.
At Olympic College, full-time faculty average $55,797 a year, while an adjunct who taught full-time would average $27,833.
“The same tension has arisen elsewhere — at Wisconsin’s Madison Area Technical College, for instance, adjuncts filed suit to stop overloads,” notes Inside Higher Ed.
In New Hampshire, community college adjuncts have joined a state employees union.
At Chicago’s Columbia College, experienced, top-scale adjuncts charge they’ve lost class assignments to newly hired part-timers who cost less. http://communitycollegespotlight.org/content/adjuncts-vs-full-time-faculty_3701/

The question is whether colleges can afford to fix the disparity.

Claudio Sanchez reported in the NPR story, Part-Time Professors Demand Higher Pay; Will Colleges Listen?

When you think about minimum-wage workers, college professors don’t readily come to mind. But many say that’s what they are these days.
Of all college instructors, 76 percent, or over 1 million, teach part time because institutions save a lot of money when they replace full-time, tenured faculty with itinerant teachers, better known as adjuncts.

Kathleen Gallagher, a published poet and writer with advanced studies and a master’s degree, spent 20 years as an adjunct English professor at several colleges in Akron, Ohio. The most she’s ever made in a year is $21,000; last year, she made $17,000.
After one college laid her off last summer, Gallagher was desperately short of money, so she sold her plasma.
“It is embarrassing to talk on the radio and say, ‘I think I’ll have to go give some blood,’ ” she says with a sigh. “But I needed gasoline….”
More than half the faculty at the University of Akron teaches part time. Ramsier says he’s sorry some adjuncts are struggling, but they know, or should know, what they’re getting into.
“Part-time work is truly part-time work,” he says. “We’re not expecting, or trying, to take advantage of people.”
Two-year and four-year colleges started replacing full-time faculty with part-time instructors in the mid-1970s. That shift has created lots of tension on college campuses where adjuncts are treated like cheap labor, according to a congressional report released last month.
Initially, part-time teachers were popular because they brought “real-world experience” to the classroom, according to Adrianna Kezar, an expert on workforce issues in higher education and a professor at the University of Southern California. She says things are different today.
“Higher education has begun to adopt corporate management practices,” Kezar says. “Corporations move to more contingent labor because it is a cheaper form of labor.”
It’s certainly cheaper, though the amount depends on the size of the institution and whether it’s public or private. A full-time professor’s salary can average from $72,000 a year up to $160,000; adjuncts average $25,000 to $27,000 a year, and often much less, regardless of where they teach.
‘We Have To Stop Hiding In The Shadows’
At Cuyahoga Community College, just outside Cleveland, 3 out of 4 faculty members are adjuncts, like David Wilder. Now in his late 50s, he has a degree in library sciences and has taught art history at Cuyahoga for 10 years, and 15 years at another school. Despite that, he lives paycheck to paycheck and moonlights in the deli of a nearby hotel. He says the professors are just minimum-wage workers.
“We’re just part of working people starting to step forward,” Wilder says. “We identify with the fast-food workers that are telling their stories, and we want to do the same.”
Some adjuncts here are on food stamps; others struggle to make their car or rent payments…. http://www.npr.org/2014/02/03/268427156/part-time-professors-demand-higher-pay-will-colleges-listen

A University of Southern California study argues colleges can afford to fix the disparity.

Colleen Flaherty reported in the Inside Higher Ed article, Not Too Expensive to Fix:

Or so argues a new paper from the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success, a partnership between the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education and the Association of American Colleges and Universities to examine and develop the role of adjunct faculty.
“[Although] leaders in higher education do face budgetary constraints and uncertainty over future funding sources, it is a myth that resources are the sole reason that prevents us from ensuring that all our faculty members are adequately supported so they can provide the highest quality of instruction to their students,” reads Delphi’s “Dispelling the Myths: Locating the Resources Needed to Support Non-Tenure-Track Faculty.”
The paper, written by Adrianna Kezar, director of the Delphi Project and professor of higher education at the University of Southern California, and Dan Maxey, Kezar’s research assistant, outlines a variety of practices institutions may adopt to better support all faculty – not just adjuncts – rated on a scale from “$” (free to marginal in cost) to “$$$$” (indicating a “more substantial” expense).
Some obvious means of supporting adjunct instructors, who make up nearly three-fourths of the higher education work force — better pay, benefits — are costly. But others — such as enhancing data collection efforts to better track adjunct employment on campus, ensuring protections for academic freedom in faculty handbooks, and inviting adjuncts to participate in curricular discussions and governance – aren’t.
That’s the paper’s biggest takeaway, Kezar said, given the many “myths and stereotypes,” coupled with the lack of national data, about the costs of rethinking adjunct employment conditions. It’s based on previous case studies of different campuses’ costs and strategies related to adjunct faculty members.
“This new resource on how to understand the actual costs to support [adjuncts] should be paradigm-shifting for campus leaders,” she said via e-mail. “So many changes cost little or marginal amounts of money. But they do require priority-setting and making this a goal for departments or institutions.”
Inexpensive Ways Institutions Can Support Adjunct Faculty
Cost Practice
$ (marginal) Enhance data collection efforts on adjunct employment on campus
$ Ensure or clarify protections for academic freedom
$ Provide access to instructional materials, resources and support services (library, photocopies, etc.)
$-$$ (some additional expense) Provide access to on-campus professional development opportunities
$-$$ Extend opportunity to participate in departmental meetings, curriculum design and campus life (inclusive in e-mail distribution lists, etc.)
$-$$ Participation in governance
$-$$ Facilitate opportunities for faculty mentoring
$-$$ Ensure access to orientation for new hires
$-$$ Access to administrative staff for support
Maxey said that once institutions begin to make meaningful but inexpensive changes to adjunct working conditions, they can become convinced of the value of such investments.
“Non-tenure-track faculty are committed educators and should be provided proper support and fair compensation,” he said via e-mail. “We see all of the recommendations as important, but by offering this range of choices, campuses can target a few to start with that are within reach. In our experience working with campuses, those that start out with just a few low-cost changes often quickly realize that these changes to better-support the faculty are worth any added expense….”

Adjuncts do not want to be overlooked in the discussion of income inequality.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has written several articles about the plight of adjunct teaching faculty:

o ‘Chronicle’ Survey Yields a Rare Look Into Adjuncts’ Work Lives http://chronicle.com/article/Chronicle-Survey-Yields-a/48843/

o Love of Teaching Draws Adjuncts to the Classroom Despite Low Pay http://chronicle.com/article/Love-of-Teaching-Draws/48845/

o Full-Time Instructors Shoulder the Same Burdens That Part-Timers Do http://chronicle.com/article/Full-Time-Instructors-Shoulder/48841/

o At One 2-Year College, Adjuncts Feel Like Outsiders http://chronicle.com/article/At-One-2-Year-College/48844/

o Video: Voices of Adjuncts http://chronicle.com/article/Video-Voices-of-Adjuncts/48868/


Report: Declining college teaching loads can raise the cost of college https://drwilda.com/2013/04/02/report-declining-college-teaching-loads-can-raise-the-cost-of-college/

USC study: Adjunct faculty pay disparity can be fixed at reasonable cost https://drwilda.com/2013/10/19/usc-study-adjunct-faculty-pay-disparity-can-be-fixed-at-reasonable-cost/

Important statement from American Association of University Professors about cutting adjunct teaching hours in response Obamacare

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Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment study: Community college students who transfer to for-profit higher education don’t earn as much

29 Jan

Moi wrote about for-profit higher education in Scary study about what happens to for-profit college graduates:
We are in a periodic of extreme economic dislocation and people are retraining and starting businesses in an attempt to put themselves in a better economic position. Because of the economic uncertainty, may are willing to try almost anything to survive. Beware, some choices can leave people in a worse position.

The Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE) has produced a truly scary study about what happens to the graduates of for-profit colleges. According to the press release for the study, For-Profit College Students Less Likely to Be Employed After Graduation and Have Lower Earnings, New Study Finds:

Students who attend for-profit colleges are less likely to be employed and have lower earnings six years after enrolling than similar students who attend public and not-for-profit colleges, according to a new study by authors affiliated with the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE). They also carry heavier debt burdens and are more likely to default on their student loans.
Over the past decades, for-profit colleges have experienced explosive growth in enrollment, with numbers increasing from 18,333 in 1970 to 1.85 million in 2009. Currently, for profit students make up 13 percent of all college attendees, up from 5 percent in 2001.
However, until now, student outcomes for these institutions have been poorly understood, not least because the students they serve are not always analogous to those who attend public and non-profit colleges. The analysis found that for-profit colleges serve a larger fraction of students who tend to struggle in college: minority, older, and independent students who are disproportionately single parents, have lower family incomes and are twice as likely to have a GED.
To ensure comparable results, the study—which used data from the 2004 to 2009 Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS) longitudinal survey—controlled for observable student characteristics such as income, age and ethnicity. The analysis indicated that students who attend for-profit schools are more likely to persist through their first year and to earn certificates and associate degrees than their counterparts at community colleges. However, despite these higher completion rates, for-profit students are more likely to experience long term unemployment and report less satisfaction with their education in the six years after they enroll.
The poor employment and earning outcomes of for-profit students may explain their high rates of loan defaults. Currently, 26 percent of all federal student aid goes to for-profit tuition, making up three quarters of the sector’s revenue. The researchers found that almost 25 percent of for-profit students default on their loans within three years. This rate is 10.5 percent higher than that of similar students who attend public or non-profit institutions and accounts for almost half of all student loan defaults. http://capseecenter.org/for-profit-college-students-less-likely-to-be-employed-after-graduation-and-have-lower-earnings-new-study-finds/

See, Study: For-Profit Colleges Offer Weak Job Prospects, Pay http://www.educationnews.org/higher-education/study-for-profit-colleges-offer-weak-job-prospects-pay/

Here is the citation:

The For-Profit Postsecondary School Sector: Nimble Critters or Agile Predators? (A CAPSEE Working Paper)
By: David Deming, Claudia Goldin, and Lawrence F. Katz| February 2012 http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.26.1.139

The conclusions of this report have been echoed in prior reports. https://drwilda.com/2012/02/26/scary-study-about-what-happens-to-for-profit-college-graduates/
A study by the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment finds that students who transfer to for-profit colleges from community college have lower earnings.

Paul Fain reported in the Inside Higher Ed article, For-Profit Wage Gap:

Community college students who transfer to for-profit institutions tend to earn less over the next decade than do their peers who transfer to public or private colleges.
Those are the findings from a study released Monday by the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment, a research center that was created with a federal grant and is housed at the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University’s Teachers College.
In recent years several researchers have attempted to look at the relative labor market returns of attending for-profits, which is also a hot topic among policy makers.
There are many variables at play – such as the relatively low academic preparation of incoming for-profit students versus their peers at traditional colleges. And the results from those research efforts have ranged from largely unflattering to a mixed view of for-profits.
This new study, however, may be the first to analyze earnings gaps at various points before and after students attend college, as well as while they’re still enrolled.
It also controlled for the effects of student “swirl” in the complex higher education system by looking at transfer among a large sample of 80,000 full-time community college students who first enrolled in the early to mid-2000s.
Over all, the research found that students who transferred to for-profits earned roughly 7 percent less over the next decade than students who transferred to private or public nonprofit institutions, according to income data culled from unemployment insurance data dated from up to 2012.
“We identify a statistically significant wage penalty from enrolling in a for-profit institution,” wrote the study’s coauthors, Vivian Yuen Ting Liu, a senior research assistant at the CCRC, and Clive Belfield, an associate professor of economics at Queens College, which is part of the City University of New York System.
“This penalty appears consistent across subgroups of students, although it is greatest for for-profit students who did not complete an award,” they wrote. “For-profit students gain least over the longer term. Extended over a working life, the differences become much greater.”
Work and study
The research was based on cohorts of students who attended community colleges in two statewide systems.
Among students from the first group, which included data from a longer time range, there were stark differences in the earnings gains one decade after transfer. Students who attended for-profits had a net wage bump of $5,400 over that decade. But public college students saw a $12,300 gain and private college students earned $26,700 more (in 2010 dollars).
The results were more mixed for the second cohort of students, who attended community colleges in a different state.
In that group, students who transferred to a for-profit sometimes earned more than their peers who transferred to other institutions. For example, both men and women who transferred to for-profits earned an average of 18 percent more than students who transferred to public colleges.
One reason for the discrepancy was that the second group was tracked over a shorter period of time. Those students first enrolled in community college a few years earlier than the other, larger group, and therefore had less time in the labor market.
Additionally, students fared better while they were enrolled in for-profits, according to the study.


The Labor Market Returns to For-Profit Higher Education: Evidence for Transfer Students (A CAPSEE Working Paper)
January 2014

This study examines the labor market gains for students who enrolled at for-profit colleges after beginning their postsecondary education in community college. We use student-level administrative record data from college transcripts, Unemployment Insurance earnings data, and progression data from the National Student Clearinghouse across full entry cohorts of community college students in two statewide systems between 2001 and 2006. We calculate the wage gains to attainment across different student transfer patterns.

We find significant wage penalties to transfer to a for-profit college instead of a public or private nonprofit college. This earnings gap between higher education sectors is consistent but varies in size across subsamples of students. Importantly, it is only identifiable with a sufficient time window across which enrollment and earnings data are available. Students in for-profit colleges have lower opportunity costs in terms of foregone earnings while enrolled in college, but these do not sufficiently compensate for lower earnings growth post-college.
Download the paper: The Labor Market Returns to For-Profit Higher Education: Evidence for Transfer Students

Click to access labor-market-returns-to-for-profit-higher-education.pdf

CAPSEE project: Project 6: The Role of the For-Profit Sector in Higher Education

Here is the press release from Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment:

Community College Students Who Transfer to For-Profit Colleges Earn Less, New Study Finds
Community college students who transfer to for-profit colleges earn less than students who transfer to public or private nonprofit colleges, concludes a new study from the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE).
The study is the first to examine the income effects of transferring to a for-profit college from a community college. Earlier studies, including a recent study from CAPSEE, have compared earnings for students who attend community colleges and for-profit colleges and found that students who attend for-profit colleges are less likely to be employed after college and earn less on average than community college students.
For this study, CAPSEE researchers analyzed the earnings of 80,000 first-time, degree-seeking students who enrolled in community college during the 2000s and transferred to another college or university. Student incomes were tracked via state unemployment insurance data through the beginning of 2012.
The study found that there were significant differences in the community college students who chose to transfer to a for-profit institution: Black and Hispanic students, and students who performed poorly and accrued fewer credits at the community college were far more likely to transfer to a for-profit than a nonprofit or public college.
Even when controlling for these differences in student characteristics, however, the study found that students who transferred to for-profit colleges earned 6–7 percent less than students who transferred to nonprofit or public institutions.
The study also found that students who transferred to for-profit colleges had higher earnings whilst in college. Students who attended for-profit colleges saw a decline in income of $130–$270 per quarter; by comparison, the decline in income for students enrolled in public colleges was four times larger, and the decline for students at nonprofit colleges was ten times larger. This difference—the lower ‘opportunity cost’ of attending for-profit colleges—may explain why these colleges are attractive to low-income students.
However, the earning gains after leaving college were significantly higher for public and nonprofit college students. Over time these gains more than offset the ‘opportunity cost’ differences. Looking over ten years, for-profit students experienced net earnings gains of only $5,400, whereas public and nonprofit college students experienced gains of $12,300 and $26,700 respectively. These figures do not account for the higher tuition costs at for-profit colleges.
The wage penalty for transferring to a for-profit college was consistent across subgroups of students, although the penalty was greatest for for-profit students who did not complete a degree.
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Victor Hugo said it best when dealing with many for-profit colleges:

Caution is the eldest child of wisdom
Victor Hugo


College accreditation – U.S. Department of Education

College Accreditation: Frequently Asked Questions

Ask questions before deciding on a for-profit college [Video]

For Profit Colleges: Get the Facts


Buyer beware of some for-profit colleges

For-profit colleges: Money buys government, not quality for students https://drwilda.com/2011/12/12/for-profit-colleges-money-buys-government-not-quality-for-students/

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