In keeping with our water-cooler talk about the 1%, the 99%, and the 47%, we can add another figure:  the 67%.

In concert with the anecdotal evidence of graduate students and recent (and not-so-recent) PhDs who scramble to scrape together a living on the peanuts they are paid to adjunct, a recent study on adjuncts has laid bare the employment crisis in American higher education:  67%–nearly two thirds–of professors are “contingent,” which means non-tenured or non-tenure track.  That often means no job security, no benefits, and a barely livable wage.

This situation is unacceptable and unsustainable.  Apart from the career, financial, and health effects on the adjuncts themselves, this injustice has a ripple effect to department cultures, student learning outcomes, and the integrity of the university as a whole.  The university only gets fixed from the inside.  Those who are not lucky enough to land tenure-track jobs, and who choose not to leave the academy, will need to do the hard work, in concert with open-minded administrators, sympathetic faculty, labor unions, and outside consultants, of reforming the structure of labor in academia.

Below is a list of resources with information and links to learn more about this issue.  If you find something not included below, please contact me.

General Resources

New Faculty Majority

Adjunct Project 

A Guide To Graduate Study in English (and Beyond)  A cornucopia of advice about how to make it in academia


“Professors Seek to Reframe Salary Debate”

“Why Do They Hate Us?”

“It’s Your Duty to Be Miserable”

“The Closing of American Academia”

“The PhD Now Comes With Food Stamps”  

“The Need for Reform in Graduate Humanities Education”

“Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don’t Go”

(Photo by David_Shankbone)