The Texas Community College Teachers Association (TCCTA) maintains a blog, keeping its members up to date on a wide range of issues. Scott Nelson, the author, served as a chair and a faculty senate president for years before taking on a full-time job with the association. His experience with community colleges ranges from the classroom to the state legislature.
Today, his posting highlights a largely ignored part of public higher education: the plight of part-time faculty. As with all Nelson does, it is informed, thoughtful, and accurate. It provides a painful insight into Texas higher education.
The significance of the article is apparent to those of us who have served as chairs–the full-time faculty who hire, observe, and schedule adjuncts.
Nelson ends with a troubling question–“What would the cost of higher education be without part-time faculty?” The question is not an intellectual exercise when an adjunct calls to drop an assignment because she cannot afford to teach any longer. It is immediate.
I have asked it more than once watching a qualified, gifted instructor give in to the inevitable.