It seems that UVU and other colleges are taking advantage of the part-timers' unwillingness to make a fuss. About two-thirds of UVU's 1,600 faculty members are adjuncts, and they teach nearly half of all course sections.
Several Tribune staffers teach part-time as adjuncts.
One UVU part-timer told a Tribune reporter he expects to make $22,220 for teaching 30 credit hours a year. That's about half to a third of an average UVU full-time professor's salary, and the adjunct is shouldering what would be considered a full teaching load.
It's true that adjunct instructors generally do not have the highest possible academic degree, usually a doctorate, although some do. But it's obvious many of them have considerable teaching experience, and many have extensive backgrounds in the subject they teach.
Adjuncts allow UVU and other fast-growing institutions of higher learning to inexpensively offer more course sections, so students can progress at a steady pace toward a degree. They are usually paid on a semester basis. They usually do not have a long-term contract and teach according to a department's need from one semester to the next. So they have no job security, no benefits and a low pay scale that doesn't rise much, if at all.
This growing underclass threatens to replace full-time, tenured professors and those graduating with advanced degrees who want to teach full time. In 1975 full-time professors made up 47.1 percent of the academic workforce and adjuncts 34.3. By 2009 adjuncts had increased to 46.2 percent to tenure-track professors' 34.3 percent.
Students pay the same for an adjunct as for a full-time professor. To be fair, universities should treat adjuncts as professionals.