You may be interested in this article on adjunct instructors: https://areomagazine.com/2020/09/24/adjunct-instructors-class-and-power-in-american-higher-education/. The author—an adjunct instructor himself, I believe—deplores the conditions of their employment. I was very puzzled by the article (I knew nothing about the subject). So much so that I wrote the comment below. There are other comments that may interest you. You’ve shed some light on the matter with this: “Ironically, as much as I bitch and moan about it, I do love teaching. It’s in my blood, and I know I’m good at it.” It’s regrettable that such a noble and useful occupation is not better rewarded.

My comment to the article:

It looks like diversity training and related demands (as described) are adding insult to injury… Be that as it may (I’m not minimizing the extra burden entailed—it does seem a bit too much), why do adjunct faculty put up with “poverty wages, zero benefits, no job security and very little hope of a full-time position”?

Why don’t they seek employment elsewhere? They’re certainly qualified for more remunerative careers. Vocation? Prestige? The hope of tenure, despite the long odds? Or maybe the ones who persist have specialized in an area with little practical value in the business world, and they have few prospects for better employment, after all?

If universities can get away with this “exploitative” practice, it must be that there’s no lack of candidates willing to be thus “taken advantage of”. (Sorry about putting “exploitative” and “taken advantage of” in quotes, but no one is forcing adjunct instructors to persist in such an occupation. We might as well say that anyone earning minimum wage is being exploited, and perhaps they are, but then that would be a whole different discussion.) As long as there’s no shortage of potential adjunct instructors willing to accept those conditions, universities will probably continue their current approach, however unfair it may be. For better or worse, that’s how a society largely ruled by free-market forces operates—a dynamic from which universities are not exempt.

Interested in natural selection, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, science in general, human nature, consciousness, philosophy and ethics.

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