I teach digital storytelling (ds106) online as an adjunct for the University of Mary Washington. I earn just enough doing this to pay for my health insurance. I am not doing this for the money, it’s for the love, and to learn how to teach online. I have my savings and some other things I hope to put into motion to fill the gap.
The rate UMW pays is on par with other places, according to the Adjunct Project. I cannot complain abut UMW, I love that place.
I knew of people when I was at Maricopa, and elsewhere now, that cobbled together a meager living teaching 5, 6, 7, more courses, at multiple institutions.
From my own perspective, I cannot fathom how they managed to do that. And lived to tell.
So while I would love to make more money teaching, I am not writing to protest or demand more pay. Although, if offered, I would accept.
Momma raise no fool. Well, maybe she raised a partly foolish but well intentioned one.
The Annual AUP Salary Survey puts the average profesor salary across the board (from isntructors to all star profs) at around $80,000. Let’s say just for grins, that average professor teaches 4 classes (and that is likely high, although we see stories of ones griping if they have to teach more than one).
My math is simple and crude, but that professors makes $20,000 per class then. Yes crude, they do more than teach. Most have Big Fancy Degrees and conduct Key Research.
But there it is, a 10 fold order of magnitude of pay for full time teachers versus pert-time. Yes, overall, many full time teachers might be more qualified (?) (huh?) than many adjuncts.
10 times as qualified?
I am just putting the numbers out there.
Many schools are working hard to maintain a certain proportion fo full time salaried positions. I cannot imagine why.
I foresee none of this changing.
But as more educational institutions are bottom lining their operations, as they are being pushed more and more to act more like corporate entities than providers of a social good, this ratio of what are expenses to the organization, must look pretty damn attractive.
Education can now join a long line of other industries that profit from exploiting low cost labor. Such a grand tradition.
I have no answers.
I just am in it for the teaching.
Until my savings are gone.
So it might be a good time to be an adjunct in terms of finding work. If you don’t mind eating ramen and playing the health care craps gamble.
I am a serf, and I know it. And for now, it’s ok.