Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Academia's Dirty Little Secret


Do you still want to get a Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate in order to become a professor? Think again. Not only does it take a lot of time and resources, and while money may not be everything, you most likely will find yourself living in poverty, That's right, not poor, or lower middle class, but living in actual poverty.

Here's academia's dirty little secret.

Those professors that you respect and admire (hopefully), and who spend hours planning, grading, and teaching your classes, are most likely part-timers. Over half of all college instructors today are adjuncts. That means that they are not entitled to full-time pay or benefits even though many of them teach four, five, six, or even seven classes a semester in order to make a decent salary. 

Do you have any idea how much time it takes to teach five courses? Let's think about it. You need to get to those courses, which may be at one, two, or even three different campuses. You need to prep for those courses, you need to hold office hours for those courses, you need to grade all homework, papers, and exams, and, finally, you need to teach those courses (that's the easy part).

Do you find that hard to believe? Want to see for yourself? Check out TransparentCalifornia.com and you can see how much all California public school teachers make. Look me up, my latest figures for 2015 show how much I made teaching five classes a semester.

Here's some hypocrisy for you, something that Academia loves to gripe about is WalMart and how they teach their employees to go on welfare and unemployment. Well, guess what? The institutions of higher learning where I teach taught me the same thing. If this were Walmart they'd be marching in the streets.

Why is this secret? This trend has been slowly growing over the years, and if you shine a light on this epidemic, the powers that be, namely the bureaucrats, admin, and full-time, tenure tracks, might lose a piece of their pie. Academics love to blame the "corporate model, " but this seems to be more about greed and like corporations those at the top are making more while those at the bottom make less. Do you see any administrators or full time employees at your school protesting this phenomenon? Do adjuncts have any power to change things? Not really, they are more fearful of losing what little they make now.

Don't get me wrong. I love my job - anybody who is a professor has to love their job. It just seems like the people who are among the highest educated and most respected members of our society are not treated very well (to say the least).

There is a tipping point, as Malcolm Gladwell points out, and this is something to consider as you contemplate your majors. Again, while money isn't everything, you need to be able to survive, so you must consider if your future career will pay your student loans, home mortgage, car payments, and food. Do you think you will have to delay adulthood and postpone marriage, homes, and families?

13 comments:

  1. I can't even imagine how much work it is for a professor who teaches five or six classes. That is just insane, and the hard work does not reflect on the salary. With that much of work and brain cells, professors sure are not treated well at all. But I believe with the passion of teaching these professors have. It is worth it and also enjoyable. I like the last paragraph, "Again, while money isn't everything, you need to be able to survive, so you must consider if your future career will pay your student loans, home mortgage, car payments, and food." So obviously the career choice is quite important in order to get money and survive. It is true that money isn't everything, but sadly, without money we can't do anything.

    ReplyDelete
  2. To go through school for such a long time and not get paid enough for your hard work is the most frustrating thing when the results don't outweigh the effort. Professors have always been underappreciated people that work hard to provide an education for our students but don't get paid more than they should. This subject brings me back to our class discussion of how the choice of major can affect the outcome of your financial stability. Even though people want to pursue their passion and dreams, we must also keep in mind the cost of living. Our society's system is flawed because it seems like the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I definitely think I am going to end up delaying adulthood due to my endless hardships while getting my education and its cost. When I came to America to go to college, I could not believe how universities are so expensive! It is about 5 times higher than the cost I would have paid in my home country (which has similar price level in general). I wondered, and still wondering how people pay this much tuition and pay off their loan later. Since I do not have much information about salaries here, I just assumed that salary is so high here, people are be able to cope with their expenses for college. However, this article made me quite surprised because it clearly states it is not. Even professors, who put so much effort and time on study to be experts in their field, still have to think about "money and survive". Considering how long they devoted themselves to obtain their degrees, they should be treated better. Teaching in higher education institutions is one of the most honorable and noble job I can imagine. Even if a job is satisfying you with many other ways, providing financial security is still a big part of it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. When I had first started to read this article, and it asked me if I still wanted to get my bachelor's degree, I thought this article was going to cover the opportunity cost of going to a university rather than getting a job; I was wrong. When I read that these professors are quite literally living in "poverty... not lower middle class" I was shocked. These professors spend a ludicrous amount of time working outside the classroom to prepare for the next session, yet they receive pay less than someone who didn't attend a university at all. With this in mind, who would even want to become a professor? Perhaps another secret of academia is to keep the secret quiet: that degrees don't equal larger sums of money. Although the obvious solution would be to simply raise their pay, how could we? Although students at CSUEB have "80% of their tuition paid for them by taxpayers," says my engineering professor, Barsky, students still demand free or lower tuition. I beieve instead of lowering tuition, we should follow the money trail to see where all that money is going, and solve the problem of low-paying professors, and using the money the universities have in a wiser fashion.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Compared to K-12th grade teachers, I always thought that college professors were well off, especially with how they're portrayed in media. I never thought that some would be on government programs just to make ends meet. With the high costs of tuition, you would think that college professors would get paid a better amount, especially for those who have large or multiple classes. Not only that, but college professors, who have the power to shape young minds and help guide them to their future careers, should be treated better. The last thing you’d want is to have an overworked professor. It seems very daunting with the fact that if you don’t choose the right career path that at least pays well, it’ll be hard to make a living. It makes for pushing a possible career path that you enjoy to the side in order to pursue a path in which financial security is almost guaranteed. I think that it is possible that I’ll have to delay adulthood due to the fact that I didn’t start college immediately after high school and I delayed applying to the nursing program so that will be another year before I apply and wait for an answer.

    ReplyDelete
  6. As someone who is considering teaching as a career, this article was eye opening . I feel that many people know that teachers and professors do not make the salary that they deserve. However, I do not think that people know the extent. When I tell people that I am considering teaching, they highly discourage it and tell me that I need to have another option in order to survive in the future. It is ironic that these people who earned a college degree in order to teach students, are struggling to make ends meet. It's ridiculous that deans, chancellor's and the higher up of an institution make so much, and continue to receive salary increases, while the professors, who are working hard to give their student's the knowledge they need are barely making any money. Ultimately, I feel that the salary's of the chancellor's and those who make ridiculous amounts of money needs to be cut in order to give professor's the pay they deserve.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Professors are overlooked of the work they provide for the society. The society has little to no knowledge of what college professors do. All the work that a professor do on their daily basis is extraordinary. Personally, I don't know much about this information until now. Although, I do understand that their salary isn't as great,they admire and love teaching students. I would say it would be very difficult to balance work and families while teaching five to six different classes. As stated "while money isn't everything", its also difficult to just postpone marriages and families due to salary. Its easier to say that I would postpone these for my career, but in reality it's unlikely it will happen. The world we live in we are stumble upon many circumstances like this and we question whether postponing marriages and families is necessary.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It doesn't make since how someone could pursue the highest level of education, become a professor, and still be poor. Our education system has always done a poor job when it comes to representing and compensating professors and teachers, but this is unfortunate. You would think that the amount of pay would be equivalent to your academic achievement and hard work, but no. You would also think with all of the raises in university tuition teachers would benefit, but no. I think that the only solution is for students and teachers to continue to come together and fight in support of each other. This way not only are we fighting for higher pay of our professors, but we are as well fighting so students on their way to pursue high education, some hopefully teachers to be, won't have to have to start a their career's in debt, only to fall in or stay in poverty. There is always strength in numbers.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Its very interesting how college professors put some much effort into there work for very money in return. With all the degrees these professors have, it shows that no matter what certificate you hold they will still be struggling to obtain a part time job at a college. These professors do more than what is expected of them that the colleges do not acknowledge. We students pay thousands of dollars every school year but somehow the institution is still sort on resources and staff. Is getting a higher education is a risk in living poverty in future once receiving a degree with big debt from loans hanging from above. What is the purpose of cutting back on certain budgets, resources, and raising tuition. There is no need for college professor to postpone any marriage arrangements, buying a home, and starting a family if students pay an immense amount of money every semester/quarter for professors to educate them.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's crazy to see how professors are getting paid so poorly. They are the ones who work so hard to become a teacher yet, are not praised as much as say a doctor would be. But who teaches these doctors how to become doctors? Professors do. However, I think getting a college education impacts all students financially. Yes, I will have to postpone marriage, a family, and a home because i'm a college student who has to take loans out in order to get years of education, and after that I have to pay them off and I wouldn't want to bring children into the world if I am still in debt barely being able to support myself. Having a child in college is out of the question as well as being able to afford a wedding or buy a home. I think this is easy to say for all college students. We are the hard workers who don't just take the easy way out and work towards something. After all of this we deserve to be financially stable. It's sad to say we have to go through college not knowing what the future holds and that we still could end up in poverty. There should be a guaranteed salary for all college graduates.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Before reading this article i would think that professors at colleges would make quiet a bit of money just teaching two or three courses. It seems very hard to be a professor of several classes how can they keep up? no wonder professors can hardly remember students names. I think professors should be guaranteed a salary instead of having to grind out several classes to hardly make it and may/may not be on government assistance.

    ReplyDelete
  12. All my life I heard the higher the degree the more money you make. I suppose that isn't true for those in the educational field. I'm sure professors have to obtain high degrees to teach college students but their really isn't much benefits for them. While I was in high school my teachers were protesting all year long for a pay raise due to the greedy superintendent we had. I stood by my teachers because they did so much for us, and now that I see how much a college professor gets paid for teaching 5 classes i wonder how much my teachers get paid. I feel like it's unfair as teachers do so much outside of their 8-5 job! The pay supplies out of their own pocket, plan lessons, and grade papers whilst dealing with annoying students and parents. It's not very surprising, I've heard all my life that teachers do not get paid their worth. But, I did think professors especially at a university with such high tuition costs would get more compensation for all their time.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I took several classes with part time professors. As they told me, getting a job in the college and sustain their positions are very hard, and of course those positions also do not make a lot of money as they or people who want to be professors in some colleges expect. I don't want to be a professor, but I want to do work in education related field connecting with business in the future. I think education in schools is the most important and if programs and curriculums are good students and parents don't need to spend their money outside of school. Therefore, I think the government need to support and improve the circumstances of professors. If professors can have better circumstances and improved environment, their teaching skills and class prep quality may improve, and the ultimate result will be students will get better education and become more intelligent.

    ReplyDelete