After the “Art/Museum Salary Transparency” spreadsheet and the ensuing “Arts + Museums Transparency Internship Survey” made waves this summer, a new Google spreadsheet circulating on the web is allowing adjunct professors in colleges and universities to share their salaries and working conditions. The anonymous spreadsheet, simply titled “Adjuncts Rates,” has so far garnered about 250 entries from adjunct professors across the United States.
A great number of the adjuncts hold PhD degrees in a variety of disciplines. The majority of the adjuncts report that they do not belong to a union.
“Pay was stuck at $2,175/course, now slowly going up,” an adjunct professor of Liberal Arts at the Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pennsylvania wrote in the spreadsheet. The professor’s current pay rate per course stands at $2,400. “No benefits, no parking, no office, strict 3 class cap per term,” shared an English and Philosophy professor who is teaching at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He reports that his pay rate per course at $3,000. A music professor at New York University (NYU) reported better conditions. “Health, dental, and vision insurance after 1 year of 40-contact hours; retirement benefits from year 1,” the NYU adjunct wrote. The professor reported a salary of $3,850 per course.
Tenure-track positions are dwindling at academic institutions across the country. According to a 2018 report issued by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), 73% of all faculty positions in US colleges and universities are contingent workers who are off the tenure track. As a result, academics with high degrees find themselves stranded in low-paying teaching jobs for years. A full-time job is considered to be three classes per semester, but many adjuncts are forced to teach a lot more courses at several institutions to make ends meet.
“For the most part, these are insecure, unsupported positions with little job security and few protections for academic freedom,” reads the AAUP’s report. “Many contingent faculty members may be excellent teachers, they are not given adequate institutional support to perform their jobs.”