Is your professor worth the bang for your buck?
By Sharan Paul, Metro Staff Reporter
College students learn just as much, if not more, from adjunct professors. In addition to the education required to be a college-level professor, adjunct, or part-time professors bring real life work experience to the classroom. But what does that mean to the students that are paying high tuition to earn degrees needed for success after college?
Movements have sprung up across the nation to champion the cause of adjunct professors. One of the most vocal is the New Faculty Majority which lobbies for equal pay scales, access to professional development, office space, staff support, and instructional resources.
This year has been designated by the NFM as “The Year of the Student” and they are actively seeking student support for their organization. In an article from Inside Higher Education, NFM president and adjunct professor at the Tri-C Western Campus, Maria Maisto said, “We know when students get involved, administrations listen.” How the NFM planned to leverage the student support and the extent of student involvement were not made clear in this article. The Voice reached out to Maisto for comment on her article but its inquiries were not answered.
“As professionals, Tri-C expects a level of excellence from every instructor who is employed here, whether full-time or adjunct.”[/pullquote]Tri-C currently employs approximately 530 adjunct professors, according to the Tri-C adjunct office. It is not uncommon for a student to have adjunct professors for every class during a single semester. Andrew Workman, a human services major, will graduate in 2015, and has had both adjunct and tenured professors.
“I don’t see a difference in teaching methods or curriculum,” Workman said. He believes he is getting a top-notch education at Tri-C and that it is worth the cost.
The American Association of University Professors is an organization of professional educators and academics, whose membership is composed of about 47,000 full-time, tenured, and retired college professors. The local chapter is led by President Robert Jaskulski, who teaches history at the Western Campus.
When asked if he thought adjunct professors affect the quality of education for students at Tri-C, he replied, “As professionals, Tri-C expects a level of excellence from every instructor who is employed here, whether full-time or adjunct.”
Jaskulski explained that Tri-C will soon be introducing a procedure to help students voice their opinions on all professors.
“The college will soon be rolling out a new faculty evaluation procedure which will provide students the opportunity to provide feedback on every instructor, every course, every term – this includes adjuncts as well as full-time instructors,” he said.
The new evaluation process will allow every student to provide feedback to the administrators.
The adjunct professor vs. tenured professor issue is an ongoing problem. The disparities are obvious, and there seems to be a definite need for reform in the adjunct system to equalize the fringe benefits of teaching at Tri-C.
However, the fact remains that for most students, the quality of education is not affected by the employment status of the professor.