If I self-disclosed here on p3 the way a lot of bloggers do at the sites people actually read, I would tell you now some of my own horror stories about the adjunct faculty zone where I dwelt for a couple of years as a freeway flyer after ending my proper academic career and before reinventing myself as Nothstine 2.0. But the truth is, I got off easy, compared to the people in this article who've played that game for five, ten, or twenty years – which I can scarcely imagine. So I'll let it slide. You can thank me later.
Let's just say that there's nothing in the Salon article that doesn't fit what I remember experiencing – and that was twenty years ago, when the hostility of the university business-model administrative attitude toward faculty was only a twentieth-part as dismissive and contemptuous as it is today.
And yet . . . and yet . . . what stung me most in the article wasn't the description of the degrading conditions in which adjunct faculty work as a part of the post-Reagan business model that drives American higher education, bad as those are. It was this lament from a pseudonymous professor – from Indiana, just to twist the knife:
“I can’t speak for everyone, but I essentially design my own courses. And sometimes I don’t find out how many courses I’m going to be teaching until maybe Thursday and they start Monday. … So I have to develop a course, and it’s been the case where one summer I taught English 102 where the course was literally dropped in my lap three days before it started and I had to develop it entirely from scratch."A teacher of freshman English, and he doesn't understand that the last-minute course assignment could only have dropped in his lap figuratively, not literally.
It was probably lucky for all concerned that I got out when I did.