Tuesday, March 19, 2013

NEA, IPEDS, MLA, CLE Rank Dawson Community College Higher than NYU

Therein you will find out a lot about what's happening in higher ed, like this, "public colleges and universities are getting shortchanged," and this: "gender gap shows no sign of shrinking."

You know, new ideas and new information that will empower you to think in a creative new way about how to manage the challenges of the future. My favorite has to be this:  

Contingent faculty members who provide instruction without the benefit of tenure or permanent employment 
make up a significant portion of the teaching force 
in postsecondary education. 

You know, that just makes sense to me, and it's nice to see what's just been a hunch of mine authoritatively established as the real McCoy. I mean, I know I've provided instruction without benefit of tenure, or even—it's embarrassing to admit this—without even the protection afforded by plain old permanent employment.

And I’ve done it a lot.

What can I say? It's just the heat of the moment, I suppose, and my own personal weakness—I love to teach.  

What is a Significant Portion?
So, how many contingent faculty have been providing instruction in a risky manner?  Readers will want to know. However, I'm unable to locate any numbers or percentages in NEA’s Special Salary Issue.

We do learn some things:
1) The majority of contingent faculty appointments are part-time!
2) The percentage of full-time contingent faculty has been growing!
3) The median pay for a 3-hour class is $2700!

Fifty Shades of Community College
Look, I’m busy, so I'll just look at the first college on each state list—that’ll be all community colleges—and we’ll see about that significant portion thing. What I’ve got for you here is, as usual, from the Modern Language Association’s wonderful Academic Workforce Data Center, which, as you all know, uses data from the pretty wonderful Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System to tell us what percent of faculty the nation’s colleges and universities are are non-tenure stream. 

What makes the Academic Workforce Date Center better than the IPEDS itself is that you can get at the data in a wink, whereas at IPEDS itself you need at least two winks and a long nap. 

Some rules: in what follows, the percentages are percentages, of total faculty, for those that are rode hard and put away wet, in the higher ed game, every day. That's the percentage of that institution’s total faculty who are adjunct or contingent, or non-tenure stream, or as I sometimes say, adcon. Now, remember too, as NEA just told you, most of these “without benefit of tenure or permanent employment” folk are part-timers.

So, Alabama? First on the list is Alabama Southern Community College, and there you’ve got adcons at 50% of total faculty. That's almost all part-time, which is the usual pattern: any exceptions, places where most of the adjunct/contingent faculty are NOT part-time, I’ll note. 

Prince William Sound Community College.                                        82%

Arizona Western College.                                                                  100% 

Arkansas northeastern College.                                                         100%
(More than half of these are full-timers.)

Allan Hancock College.                                                                       75%

Aims Community College.                                                                100%

Asnuntuck community College.                                                           87%

Delaware Technical and Community College-Owens.                      100%

District of Columbia                                                                          N/A

(This is sad. You know how they don’t have any representation 
down there? Well, they don’t have community colleges either.)

Brevard Community College.                                                              79%

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.                                             54%

Hawaii Community College.                                                               55%

Black Hawk College.                                                                        100%

Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington.                                    100%

Des Moines Area Community College.                                             100%
(Looks like these contingents are almost 100% 
full-time. That's pretty unusual, isn't it?)

Allen County Community College.                                                     80%

Ashland Community and Technical College.                                      76%

Baton Rouge Community College.                                                      99%

(This was second on the Louisiana list, because I couldn't find 
any info on the first, which was Acadiana Tech-Lafayette. At 
Baton Rouge they're almost all full-timers.)

Central Maine Community College.                                                  100%

Allegany College of Maryland.                                                           64%

Berkshire Community College.                                                           73%

Alpena Community College.                                                             100%

Alexandria Technical and Community College.                                 49%

(So what's with the college president here? That's about 
what the percent of adcons is at Fordham University.
Oh well, I'm just doing community colleges now.) 

Coahoma Community College.                                                         100%
(About 2/3 are full-time) 

Crowder College.                                                                             100%

Dawson Community College.                                                            17%

Hold on a Minute: 
Dawson Community College?

That's right—83% of the Dawson Community College faculty are genuine tenure track or tenured full-time faculty! There's only 30 of them, sure, but still. Another 10 points maybe, that almost looks like New York University upside down. Dang.

(You know, New York University President John Sexton could probably not have been reached 
for comment on this issue. That's just a hunch. But, hell, I probably couldn't get the janitor,
 or somebody from the faculty senate over there to comment on this article.)  

Central Community College.                                                             100%

College of Southern Nevada.                                                              73%

New Hampshire
Great Bay Community College.                                                        100%

New Jersey
Atlantic Cape Community College.                                                    78%

New Mexico
Central New Mexico Community College.                                       100%

New York
Adirondack Community College.                                                      64%

North Carolina
Alamance Community College.                                                       100%

North Dakota
Bismarck State College.                                                                     66%

Belmont Technical College.                                                             100%

Carl Albert State College.                                                                100%

Blue Mountain Community College.                                                72%

Bucks County Community College.                                                 75%

Rhode Island
Community College of Rhode Island.                                              60%

South Carolina
Aiken Technical College.                                                               100%

South Dakota
Lake Area Technical Institute.                                                        100% 
(Most of these are full-timers.)
Chattanooga State Community College.                                          71%

Alvin Community College.                                                             63%

Davis Applied Technology College.                                             100%

Vermont Technical College.                                                           54%

West Virginia
Blue Ridge Community and Technical College.                           100%

Blackhawk Technical College.                                                       76%

Casper College.                                                                              45%

So, there you have it, for a bunch of community colleges, anyway. Certainly does look as if you've got a significant portion of the teaching force there providing out-of-wedlock instruction, I guess you might call it, without the blessings and the benefits of the real thing. That's not good. I mean, water on the side two times and no whiskey in sight? 

On the other hand, I’m not one to complain, and what’s good for the goose and so-forth adds up this: there must also be a pretty substantial portion in some of these places—I mean, just you look at the numbers yourself—who are in stable, long-term relationships with their colleges, marked by affection and mutual respect and so-forth, perhaps not in a constant state of romantic elation because that's not always to be expected after the intoxicating transport of early courtship, but settled and happy and looking forward to a long life together so long as that blessing may flow, for evidence of which I ask you to please see this recent and touching PBS News Hour report: 

Colleges and Universities see Graying Workforce
Holding on to Coveted Positions

You tell me if that’s not so. Go ahead. And while you’re at it, go tell New Faculty Majority the same, and maybe even the Adjunct Project. They all want to hear some sort of sad sack kind of thing, sure.

But listen up. As to NEA’s role in all this? I say any union that’s been able all these years to keep Dawson Community College a whopping 83% full-time tenure-track faculty, well, that’s a labor organization been doing something right!

Now, of course, I'm no statistician, and there may be a reason, or a couple or three even, for some of those figures not coming in at that high Dawson bar, such as: 

1) Most adjunct/contingent faculty at community colleges are part-time by choice and don't need the money anyway, being instructors of welding or merger law, purely for the love of it, and controlling great ironworks, or shipyards, maybe, or legal practices, or even holding down one or two vital government positions. 
2) They've inherited great wealth and are yearning to give back, or some such thing. Some of them, the women mostly, just can't help it, either, please remember, because of their natural giving dispositions, and since they're mostly well enough off anyway, having married vice-presidents or various members of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, we could leave them alone and strictly out of any future planning on this matter.
3) Might be that my sample is flawed, and, in fact, most NEA-affiliated community colleges will turn out, on restudy, only some 17% adcon, like Dawson Community College, and then most of those could be yoga instructors maybe, and highly  appreciative of all forms of flexibility which, as we know, is an often praised virtue of this form of employment. 
4) It could be worse, and probably will get so in not so long, what with the MOOCS and all, and so there's other things to worry about. 

All of which, then, taken together, would seem to require further collection of facts, the study and analysis thereof, the subsequent production and making available of reports, discussion of which, being invited in this or that forum, will perhaps allow movement on identified fronts to be contemplated in a mature and serious manner, a thing for which I'm sure we all of us devoutly yearn.