Adjuncts – Bless their hearts

Faith-based institutions.

We expect our part-time instructors to share our institution’s values, to represent us in work and ethic and lifestyle, to be careful in the leeway we give them to dissent, such that they represent their opinion as being their own and not reflecting that of our institution … yet, some faith-based institutions violate their own values in discriminatory compensation practices.

According to data collected at (which admittedly is light on input from those at faith-based institutions), work environment disparity exists on many levels: from access to printers, office space, departmental faculty events, and fitness centers, to compensation for course preparation time, and health and tuition benefits for self and family. In other words, the pay scale isn’t the only way part-time adjuncts’ standard of living is not commensurate with their academic knowledge and experience.

At John Brown University, a distinctively Christian liberal arts school, and #1 ranked in US News & World Reports’ 2012 Best Colleges in the southwest US, adjuncts are denied the same access to tuition benefits as their peers. One long standing adjunct, nominated by students this year for the teacher of the year award, has a daughter who has no chance of attending the very institution into which her mother daily pours her heart. Oh well, that’s the life of an adjunct. Tuition benefits for her full-time colleagues, but none for her. Bless her heart.

Whether you’re a faith-based institution, public or private one, think about “blessing” your adjuncts with esteem and status for starters. Branch out a little and make it a blessing in this world in terms that count both in this life and the next.

[My June “social justice’” column was about disparity in management, innovation and autonomy between Faculty and Staff, specifically IT Staff. ~LG]

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