An Adjunct Thanksgiving

I’ve spent the last three years working to make life better for adjuncts. The Adjunct Project is approaching its third birthday, and I’ve been reflecting on some of the successes that have been achieved since its launch. It’s been a good year for adjunct professors. Here are some of the things for which I’m thankful during this holiday week:

I’m thankful for the adjuncts who stand up for themselves and speak out.
For the adjuncts who recognize that they hold the power.
For the adjuncts who have decided that they alone can change their situations.
For the adjuncts who have gained the confidence to make those changes.

I’m thankful for other members of the academic community who have decided it’s time to step up.
For the tenured faculty members who have joined the cause and raised their voices.
For the administrative assistants who devote special attention to adjuncts’ schedules.
For the human-resources professionals who take extra care to pay adjuncts on time.

I’m thankful for the adjunct unions and their successes of the past year.
For Adjunct Action and the Service Employees International Union and the advancements they’ve made.
For the metro organizing strategy and the fact that it’s WORKING.
For the contracts that are being negotiated across the country to make adjuncts’ lives better.

I’m thankful for New Faculty Majority and the work they’ve done for adjuncts.
For Maria Maisto and her tireless lobbying and testimony in support of the cause.
For the attention politicians have begun paying to the adjunct plight as a result of that lobbying.
For the partnerships and collaborations that the New Faculty Majority has forged in the name of adjunct research.

I’m thankful for the media coverage that’s been given to adjuncts this year.
For the conversation that is now spreading beyond the boundaries of the campus.
For the mainstream coverage from news outlets like PBS and Al Jazeera.
For the industry coverage from Vitae, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and other blogs.

I’m thankful for the platform Vitae gives me to speak my mind.
For the freedom I have to write about any topic I choose.
For the commitment my editors have made to telling the truth about adjunct labor.
For all the important stories I’ve been able to read and contribute to over this past year.

I’m thankful for my Vitae colleagues and others who continue to thrust adjunct issues into the spotlight.
For Rebecca Schuman, Sarah Kendzior, and Kelly Baker who speak truth to power and call out injustice.
For Karen Kelsky, Joe Fruscione, and Katie Pryal who are helping adjuncts escape bad situations.
For Stacey Patton, Sydni Dunn, Audrey June, and Peter Schmidt whose news coverage of adjunct issues inform all of our discourse.

I’m thankful for the promise of the future for adjunct professors.
For the fact that, finally, adjuncts seem to be gaining ground.
For hope that things can get better.
For all of the changes that will come this year.

Thanksgiving Day

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Always an Adjunct?

Regular readers of this website know that I left my adjunct teaching position at the University of Georgia last May.  Ultimately, I’m glad I did what I did. The job wasn’t bad, but it was keeping me from moving on to something better.

In this week’s post at Vitae, I discuss some of the questions I’ve been dealing with since deciding to leave my position.

For one, it’s just kind of strange to not be prepping for classes this year like I would usually be doing. After dedicating about seven years of my life to a career track, I’m having a hard time leaving it behind.

I’m also struggling with another important question. How does my role as a writer about adjunct issues change now that I’m no longer an adjunct? My professional identity for the past couple of years has been that of an adjunct who writes about adjunct issues. Now I’m wondering what my new life outside of academe means for my legitimacy as a higher ed writer.

Should I continue to write about adjunct issues? Am I allowed to? Will I even want to?

I have to admit that part of me wants to leave the conversation entirely. I know progress is being made. I see it every day. In the two and half years since the Adjunct Project first began, adjunct issues have been pushed into the mainstream. The tide appears to be turning.

As I discuss in the piece, I’m not sure what my new role will be and whether or not I will stay connected to higher ed. I know leaving was something I had to do. Now I just need to figure out how I can continue to be useful to the growing movement.

Read more about my decision to leave academe and about the questions I’m pondering at:

Giving Up the Good.

 

Walking Away

I’m walking away, but I’m not turning my back.

It’s Time for the AAUP to Get Serious About Adjunct Pay

Despite increased attention on the plight of adjunct professors, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is still showing its bias against this professorial underclass.

The 2013-2014 AAUP Faculty Salary Survey data was released today and, just as in years past, it does not include a category for adjunct professor pay. This despite the fact that adjuncts and other non-tenure-track professors now make up the majority of the professoriate.

As this report reveals, tenure-track faculty members are still prioritized in the AAUP’s salary data. By the AAUP’s own statistics, tenure-track faculty make up only about 30% of professors now. The AAUP’s continued ignorance of the majority in their annual salary data is inexcusable.

Combined Operations

To be fair, the AAUP has begun to get much more involved in the fair pay for adjuncts fight. They’re getting better. Now it’s time to start treating adjuncts like a part of the university by including them in the salary data survey. Adjunct salary should no longer be invisible.

No doubt one reason for the absent adjunct salary information is its relative difficulty to collect. Adjunct pay varies widely. Even adjuncts at the same university can earn different salaries based on how many classes they teach. It’s definitely not easy to glean that kind of information from the universities or even from the adjuncts themselves. But it can be done, as the Adjunct Project has proven.

The data exists; it’s just a matter of how much time and resources the AAUP is willing to invest in order to obtain that data. If the organization continues to ignore this huge swath of its constituency, it will lose relevance among the majority of faculty members. Why would adjuncts be interested in joining an organization that ignores them?

How the AAUP Can Include Adjuncts in the Annual Salary Report

Here are some steps the AAUP can take in order to start being more inclusive of the majority of professors in its salary data report.

  1. The AAUP should create a category for adjunct pay and list it on a per course basis. This would alleviate the problem of varying adjunct salaries due to teaching load. Readers can extrapolate full-time equivalents based on these per course numbers.
  2. Partner with the Adjunct Project in order to take advantage of existing salary numbers. The Adjunct Project currently has about 7,400 self-reported entries on adjunct pay and counting.
  3. Designate a dedicated researcher to contact schools directly and inquire about adjunct faculty pay. All it would take is a couple hundred schools to report their adjunct pay information in order to get a reasonable data set. This might also put pressure on other schools to divulge their information.
  4. At the very least, the AAUP should acknowledge in this annual salary report that it is missing salary numbers for 70% of the professoriate. Not acknowledging this fact is a pretty egregious misrepresentation of reality.

It’s time for the AAUP to step up and take a stand for adjuncts by committing resources to the annual salary report. Continuing to omit adjunct pay information is only hurting the organization by projecting the (certainly unintentional) message that the AAUP doesn’t care about adjunct pay.

 

Summer Jobs, Credit Cards & Unemployment: Surviving the Summer on an Adjunct Budget

Summer is coming up and, for most adjuncts, that means 3-4 long months without a paycheck. Most adjuncts receive their final paycheck of the spring semester in May, and they won’t be paid again until September. The summer months can get pretty tight financially—especially for those adjuncts who aren’t lucky enough to find summer work.

Adjunct budgets are notoriously thin anyway without the added strain of skimming a portion each month to survive the financial dearth of the summer months. Saving money on an adjunct’s salary is nearly impossible. So adjuncts must find some other way to continue to pay rent when they aren’t teaching.

Unemployment Line for Adjuncts

The really lucky adjuncts snap up a summer section or two, which keeps the paychecks coming. But most schools have many more adjuncts than they have summer sections, so only a few score one of these coveted assignments. Landing a summer class is the dream for most adjuncts because it means they can continue to eat without running up their credit cards.

I’ve known many an adjunct—myself included—who have had to rely on credit cards over the summer months. During graduate school, I ran up about $8,000 in credit card debt. I depended on my credit card to squeeze me through the pay gaps.

Summer Jobs for Adjuncts

Of course, the ideal solution to the strain of the adjunct summer is to find a job during those three non-teaching months. Just something that can keep the income consistent, even if it’s not glamorous. Believe me, I’m no stranger to taking ignominious jobs in order to fill gaps in employment. For most of grad school, I delivered pizzas at night. I kept this job during my first year as an adjunct while trying to dig out of my debt hole.

But never did I deliver pizzas in the same city where I taught. I couldn’t bear the thought of ringing a student’s doorbell and handing over a large pie topped with pepperoni and shame. Could you imagine recovering any kind of classroom ethos after that exchange?

The problem is it’s not that easy to pick up a job for only three months. Hiring managers aren’t stupid and they realize over-educated workers will turnover quickly. They don’t want to hire and train someone who will quit a few months later.

Therefore, your best bet might be to find a seasonal job that expects to churn employees quickly. Landscaping crews are a good example of this kind of work. I’ve done it. Seasonal warehouse jobs also fit the bill. Done that, too.

But what if one has a physical limitation that keeps him from taking a labor-intensive seasonal job? Seasonal jobs for knowledge workers are harder to come by. A couple good examples are tutoring, freelancing, and teaching for a test prep company. Temp agencies are another safe bet, but you should send your resume to them as soon as possible in order to get in the rotation for summer work.

One more idea: If you plan ahead, you can substitute teach in local public schools during the last month of the school year, after college classes have ended. I’ll be doing that in May.

Filing for Unemployment During the Summer

Finally, for some adjuncts, the option that makes the most sense is filing for unemployment during the summer pay gap. As I said, picking up a job for a couple months can be tough, not to mention stressful. Adjuncts with children are especially vulnerable during these months without pay. It’s much more difficult for them to pick up a 9-5 job cutting grass—and it might not even make financial sense once childcare is accounted for.

If you’re an adjunct considering unemployment this summer, here a couple good resources you should check out:

  • Access to Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Contingent Faculty is an excellent guide to filing for unemployment as an adjunct. It was published by the Chicago Coalition on Contingent Academic Labor (COCAL) with the help of NEA, AAUP, and AFT. Basically all the big education unions had a hand in compiling this manual.
  • The Unemployment Question is a blog post at the Adjunct Project with a discussion thread 45 comments long about adjuncts who have filed for unemployment in various states.

Surviving the summer as an adjunct without pay is rough. Many of the thousands of adjuncts at American universities suffer through this pain every year. Whether you get a summer class, find a temporary job, rack up credit card debt, or file for unemployment, know that you aren’t alone.

If you would like to ask a question to the adjunct community, feel free to post it here. I also edit the Adjunct Project blog and I’d be glad to open up your question to the group. Adjuncts can also get in touch with me directly to talk about adjunct-related issues at adjunctprojectmail@gmail.com.

GradPay: Crowdsourcing Graduate Student Working Conditions

Over the past few years, a slew of articles have warned would-be academics away from graduate school, arguing that graduate students are overworked, underpaid, and underemployed once they complete their studies. Other commentators have passionately defended graduate education, dismissing such concerns as overblown. This debate highlights the dearth of information about graduate student well-being. [pullquote]Altogether, the typical graduate student is paid less than half of the average starting salary of a college graduate.[/pullquote]

Certainly, some graduate students struggle to make ends meet, and others live relatively comfortable lives. But, at the moment, it’s hard to know how much money a typical graduate student is paid, or how much work she does. There’s also little information about differences in working conditions across departments: my limited personal experience suggests that students in the natural sciences earn more than students in the humanities, but there is little hard evidence to back up intuitions like this.

To address these questions, I recently launched GradPay, a survey of graduate student working conditions. The project is inspired by the Adjunct Project, but focuses on graduate students rather than adjunct faculty.

The survey asks Master’s and Ph.D. students about the work they do, the stipends they earn, and the health benefits they receive (if any). Some results are available on the site now; many new analyses will be added in the coming months. The results are available in real time on the project site, but I’ve highlighted some of the most interesting findings here.

GradPay Graduate Student Stipends By State

Median Stipend by State: Reds indicate high stipends, blues low stipends; black indicates missing data.

Although the survey has only been available since early in the year, the results have already started to shed light on graduate working conditions. Out of a total of 1,670 doctoral student respondents, the median annual stipend was $21,000. Respondents also reported working as teaching assistants for a median of 50% of their terms in school.

Nearly all doctoral students received a stipend of some kind: less than 3% of respondents reported a stipend of less than $10,000, and just 1.3% reported that they received no stipend at all. Over 15% of respondents reported that they worked as a teaching assistant every semester; 6.3% of respondents indicated that they were never required to teach. Over one-fourth of respondents reported taking out loans to support their graduate education.

Altogether, the typical graduate student is paid less than half of the average starting salary of a college graduate. Because the typical Ph.D. program takes at least five years to complete, choosing graduate school may entail taking a big financial penalty in the short term.

Factors Affecting Graduate Student Stipends

Stipends also varied widely across states, institutions, and departments. Doctoral students in Kansas reported the lowest stipends, at $12,875; Connecticutensians earned the highest median stipend of $27,500 (for a visual take on the geographic diversity of graduate stipends, check out the map visualization at the bottom of the post). At the institutional level, median stipends ranged from $11,580 at the University of Houston to $32,600 at Harvard. Last, at the disciplinary level, stipends varied from $12,000 in urban and regional planning to $30,000 in nuclear engineering.

Overall, the results of the GradPay survey paint a more complicated picture of graduate working conditions than one might expect. As warned by some commentators, some graduate students are in dire financial straits. Others, though, earn relatively respectable stipends and health benefits, and are rarely required to teach. The survey also reveals staggering differences across institutions and departments: [pq align=right]Students at the highest-paying university earned stipends over 180% more than stipends at the lowest-paying university.[/pq]

There’s still a lot of work to be done on the project. The results will become more accurate as more students complete the survey, and the website will become more informative as more analytics are added. If you want to get involved, you can forward the survey to graduate students, student advocacy groups, and university administrators: the address is http://gradpay.org/. Or, if you have suggestions for new directions for the project or want to start a collaboration, get in touch with me at jm.carp@gmail.com.

 

Written by Joshua Carp, a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan and the creator of GradPay. GradPay was inspired by the Adjunct Project

How Adjunct Professors Pay the Bills

Over at the Adjunct Project, a pretty good discussion is developing today. A reader wrote in to ask how other adjuncts supplement their income, considering an adjunct professor’s salary generally isn’t enough to put food on the table.

The adjunct collective has been coming up with ideas. Some are satirical, like selling grades or stealing.

Other adjuncts offered advice like getting a real estate license or moonlighting as a banquet server. And, speaking of moonlighting, did you catch Rob Jenkins’s post this week at The Chronicle of Higher Education wherein he lamented the need to ask his dean if it was okay to moonlight as a tenured professor?

Jenkins piece focuses mainly on teaching at another university part-time, as opposed to picking up other low wage jobs like many adjuncts. Several commenters encouraged Chronicle readers to consider how adjuncts fit into this whole discussion, as well. For example, every class picked up by a tenured professor is one class taken away from an adjunct professor, which is probably why a Twitter respondent was prompted to challenge the Adjunct Project question itself:

And then there are the responses that truly drive home the seriousness of this discussion. A few people have mentioned their dependence on government assistance like food stamps.

Adjunct Recycling cans

A comment left by missoularedhead explains that she collected cans [for recycling] and had to ask her mom for grocery money. Keep in mind this is a professional with a PhD.

Missoularedhead’s comment indicates that she has since given up the adjunct life, as do some of the other comments. Can you blame them?

Reading comments like that makes me wonder why anyone continues to work as an adjunct professor. Sheesh. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart. Adjuncts understand the meaning of grit. Of working hard for a cause they believe in. Of sacrificing for the greater good.

Based on the twenty or so comments at time of publication, it looks like this could turn into a pretty interesting discussion full of heartbreaking personal stories and advice for those who are willing to stick it out and continue teaching despite the financial difficulties. Definitely one to keep an eye on over the next few days.

What about you? Are you an adjunct (or any contingent employee) struggling to make ends meet? How do you do it? How do you balance a job you’re passionate about with an income that doesn’t always cut it?

Leave your story in the comments or tweet me @josh_boldt.

No Job Security for Adjunct Professors

It’s June again. And I’m waiting to find out if I have a job in August. This fall will ostensibly be my fourth year as a college professor. If I’m offered my job again, that is. Living as an adjunct means living with uncertainty. Job security is an illusion in most professions, but it seems to be even more illusory in higher education. Like most adjuncts, I’m employed for 10-month stretches, after which I just have to wait and see if I will be rehired.

I never know what to tell my students who always ask what I’ll be teaching next year. They want to recommend me to friends and some even want me to teach their advanced writing and literature classes. What should I say? Should I tell them I’ll be unemployed in May? Should I tell them I’ll find out what/if I’m teaching when my name shows up in the schedule book? Should I tell them that the adjunct life means no job security regardless of how many years I’ve been doing it?

Job Security

It’s a tough position to be in. On one hand, I understand why schools do it. I don’t agree with it, but I understand it. Especially when it comes to courses like freshman composition, where enrollment fluctuates right up until the last days of add/drop. My department can’t possibly plan for last minute shifts in student schedules, so they need to maintain some level of flexibility. I get it.

That being said, it seems like some of us who have been around for a few years and who are doing good work could probably get some kind of reasonable assurance about our future employment. After all, we know there’ll be dozens of sections. Somebody will have to teach them. I mean, I have no reason to believe that I won’t be offered classes in the fall, but I also have no reason to believe that I will be.

I guess I should be glad that I get a 10-month contract. Most adjuncts don’t even get that level of job security. The Adjunct Project reveals that about 95% of adjuncts teach with no more than four months of job security–one semester at a time. Could you imagine if you were laid off EVERY four months and had to reapply for your job? It sounds completely absurd when you put it that way.

Why do adjuncts do it? Why do we keep coming back despite this total lack of job security? I wish I had a good answer to that question. The college teaching profession seems to be getting worse and worse every year. I wonder if someday it’ll get so bad that professors like this one will decide it’s not worth it? What will happen then? I guess when the supply of willing teachers drops off, demand will grow. If so, salaries will increase and maybe some level of job security will be added to the package.

It’d be nice if this would happen, but I’m not holding my breath. I like teaching, but I’m looking for a new career path. I know I’m worth more. I know I have more to offer. I’ll miss the students, but it’s just something I have to do.

Why Financial Transparency is Good For Everyone

Turns out we were ahead of the curve when adjunct professors across the country added salary data to a Google Doc in an effort to promote financial transparency in the higher education workplace. The Adjunct Project was at the forefront of a new trend toward financial transparency that’s now spreading to the corporate world.

Tech startup company, Buffer, has also adopted the position that financial transparency is the best way to do business. According to co-founder Joel Gascoigne, Buffer “sees no reason not to share everything.” So it’s that easy? Do it because there’s no reason not to?

Yep, it’s that easy.

Financial Transparency

It doesn’t take an HR professional to know that paying people different rates to do the same job is going to make people mad. And you know what makes people even madder? Finding out through the grapevine amidst swirling rumors that they make less than the guy next door who does the same job. That’s a recipe that will ruin the culture of a workplace in no time.

So why have we done this for so many years? Why has it been taboo to discuss salary data with co-workers? Mainly because those at the top have taught us that it’s taboo in order to avoid those very conflicts that result from employees learning about pay discrepancies via the rumor mill. Keeping quiet about pay doesn’t help the workers at all. This is one of those cases where Antonio Gramsci would point out that we’re adopting the values of the ruling class to our own detriment. Financial transparency is good for workers because it keeps the administration honest.

But, as Gascoigne realizes, financial transparency is also good for the business as a whole. No more “cloak and dagger” attempts by employees to undermine each other. No more destructive gossip about salary structure. No more nasty negotiations during the hiring process. The information is all available. “This is what we pay someone who has your skills and experience. Period.” Now doesn’t that sound nice?

Financial Transparency in Higher Education

Higher education could learn from Buffer’s philosophy. Practically every person in a given department earns a different salary–even those who do the exact same job. What a nightmare. No wonder departmental politics can get so nasty. And think about the heated negotiations during the hiring process. Life could be so much easier for everyone if colleges adopted a policy of financial transparency.

The key is setting a base pay that’s actually fair. Buffer recognized that everyone in the company needed to be at a minimum threshold in order for this to work. Salaries had to be “normalized” before the internal salary wiki was published. But once everyone was making a fair salary, it was all worth it.

It’s this salary normalization step that we are trying to expose with the Adjunct Project. Universities want to suppress adjunct professor salary data because the pay is almost always shameful. It’s the kind of information that poisons a company culture and causes everyone to fight and resent their jobs. Especially when you consider that salaried professors earn three to ten times as much as adjunct professors who teach the same classes. That’s a problem.

With the Adjunct Project we’ll continue to promote financial transparency in higher education. If colleges would see the light, as Buffer has, and normalize salaries they’ll be on the path to creating a thriving and innovative culture, as well. Financial transparency is the future of successful businesses. Adjuncts realized it a year and a half ago. Now we’re just waiting for our employers to catch up and get with the program.

Dear Adjuncts: If You Don’t Like it, Change it.

Sometimes I wonder if adjunct professors aren’t just banging their heads against a brick wall. This past year, the adjunct labor battle has been covered at least cursorily by almost every major news outlet in the country, but will anything actually change?

My fellow writer at Order of Education, Josh Boldt, has been heavily involved in this adjunct labor movement. I don’t mean to be too critical of his work, but I just wonder if it will ever amount to anything. The Adjunct Project that he started last year has certainly grown into something, so there’s that. The Chronicle of Higher Education co-opted the website and developed it into a real platform for adjuncts (though I find it interesting that they are already referring to it as “The’s Chronicle’s Adjunct Project” in some articles and communications).

The question, though, is will Boldt’s work and the work of all his adjunct colleagues ever actually amount to anything? Will it change the system? Call me crazy, but I doubt it.

Adjuncts Change

My experience as an interested observer of the adjunct movement has led me to believe that most adjuncts are pretty comfortable in their roles as subjugated pawns in the higher education labor market. I don’t think most of them would even know what to do with a system that empowered them. I might even argue that they prefer this marginalizing relationship so they can continue to cry foul. What they really want is a reason to continue shouting in the quad about how the sky is falling and how unfair it all is.

Oh, crap. Was that mean? I think that might have been mean.

Look, I fully agree with the adjunct activists–people like Boldt and groups like New Faculty Majority–who argue that the adjunct role is exploitative and wrong. There’s really no question about it. Paying a college professor $20,000 a year to teach a full course load is despicable. Just because someone accepts the insults and attacks of an abuser doesn’t make the abuser right.

I’m simply asking the question: Why in God’s name do adjuncts who are treated this way continue to accept this abuse? It’s crazy. It makes me suspicious that maybe they aren’t as uncomfortable as they pretend to be.

Adjuncts Can Change Their Own Situations

Many of these adjuncts have been doing this job for decades and complaining about it the whole time. What a life.

For example, I’ve been a subscriber to the adjunct listserv known as adj-l for a good while now. This listserv has been around for years and years. Do you think they’ve made any progress? My impression is that these same people have been discussing the same problems over and over again for God knows how long. It’s pretty hard to feel sorry for them.

Why don’t these adjuncts DO SOMETHING?

I’m not necessarily suggesting that they walk out or riot in the streets or even strike, though all those things might work. All I’m saying is if you hate your job, freaking quit. If you don’t like your situation, change it. Stop talking about it and DO IT. Whether that means marching on the administration building, striking, walking out, or just finding another job. Just please do something, or else get comfortable and try to enjoy yourself.

by Hazel M.,
Contributing Writer

See Also: You Must Create the Change That You Want to See

MLA 2013 Convention and the Year of the Adjunct

Did you feel it?

During the first weekend of 2013, Boston pulsed to the beat of the adjunct. At the MLA 2013 Convention, you couldn’t turn around without hearing about contingent faculty issues in one form or another.

It all began on Thursday evening when the convention kicked off with the historic, first-ever all-adjunct presidential forum. Outgoing MLA President Michael Bérubé presided over a panel that consisted of New Faculty Majority Executive Director Maria Maisto; Beth Landers, a French professor at the University of Missouri; and Bob Samuels, president of the California AFT University Council and a lecturer at UCLA. What an honor it was for me to speak in the company of these great leaders and teachers.

MLA Boston 2013

I had the privilege of opening the forum and beginning what will become one of the most important weekends in history for adjunct justice.

The massive ballroom contained the largest audience I’ve ever addressed, and I confess to being a little nervous. I knew, though, that I had to record the audio of my speech, even if it would be one more thing to worry about. After all, most of the people interested in hearing it couldn’t afford to fly to Boston and attend the conference.

The audio worked out pretty well. Better than I thought it would, in fact. I had my recorder right next to the pages, so you will hear them as they turn, but other than that, everything is pretty clear. In the first minute or so, you’ll hear Bérubé introducing us and then I start at about the 1:20 mark. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Hope you agree. You’ll see the audio player at the end of the post or you can listen here now.

More on Adjuncts From MLA 2013

But my speech was just one of many during this MLA 2013 weekend. Maisto, Landers, and Samuels all gave excellent presentations, as well. Several panels also featured discussions and papers on adjunct labor. Then there was, of course, Bérubé’s presidential address, a rousing call to action and passionate defense of the humanities and those who teach them–all those who teach them, including and especially those who do it for next to nothing.

As soon as he finished speaking, the place erupted. Maria Maisto and I stood up and the rest of the ballroom followed. The speech was well-worthy of the standing O, as was Michael Bérubé for all the work he has done for adjuncts and for the future of university faculty. Audio of Bérubé’s address should be available soon on the MLA website.

As if all this wasn’t enough, The Chronicle of Higher Education and I released the new version of the Adjunct Project to much excitement and buzz. Editor Liz McMillen and I fielded questions and listened to stories during a reception on Saturday, while two marketing professionals from The Chronicle deftly conducted demonstrations of the new site. It was more than I ever could have imagined last February when we adjuncts built our spreadsheet. We’ve come a long way and our level of public exposure continues to grow.

Read more about the weekend and MLA 2013 from William Pannapacker in The End of MLAlienation and What if the Adjuncts Shrugged?

Also, more on the Adjunct Project at Adjunct Project Reveals Wide Range in Pay and MLA Sessions Keep the Focus on Adjuncts.

Were any of you at the conference or following it on Twitter? What were your high points?

My MLA 2013 Presidential Forum Speech:

MLA 2013 Speech