Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Friday, January 6, 2017

Adjunct Savings Are Often Not Reinvested In Faculty Development

Unless you have been living under a bus, it is apparent that adjuncts are being used more and more by colleges as well as by law schools. Adjuncts get paid a fraction-a very small fraction of what the full-timers get, generally have no benefits and almost always are not on a tenure track. 

A new survey looked into what colleges do with this savings. One would have hoped that these monies went into supporting the FT faculty or faculty development. Unfortunately, the study suggests that adjunct savings are often utilized to reduce institution costs. An Insider Higher Education article concerning this issue is available here. As the article states:

  • Private four-year colleges that use large proportions of non-tenure-track faculty members spend 37 percent less on full-time faculty members of all kinds than do similar institutions with small shares of non-tenure-track faculty members. But looking at spending on all categories of full-time employees, these institutions are spending only 19 percent less than those with small shares of non-tenure-track faculty members. So more spending seems possible on the administrative side of the house.
  • The same is true for public four-year colleges, although the spending gaps are 24 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
  • Public four-year colleges are using the savings in instructional costs from relying on adjuncts to increase spending on other areas -- namely maintenance, administrative and student-services staff. Most of this spending is in recruiting, admissions, counseling, student organizations and athletics.
  • Community colleges and private four-year colleges also reduced instructional costs, but they didn’t add to expenses elsewhere, so costs do not actually shift due to increasing reliance on adjuncts.

The above findings come from one of the reports, "The Relationship Between Part-Time and Contingent Faculty and Institutional Spending."

The other report -- "The Shifting Academic Workforce: Where Are the Contingent Faculty?" -- provides data on the pervasive use of adjuncts.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

January 6, 2017 in Adjunct Information in General, College Professors, Colleges | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 9, 2015

How Much Is An Adjunct Worth?


We all know that adjuncts are underpaid-grossly underpaid. But, how much are we worth? Certainly, most would agree that law school and med school profs should be paid more than college profs because the tuition is much higher. But, what are college adjuncts worth? What are law school adjuncts worth?

A Feb. 9, 2015 Inside Higher Education article discusses a proposal of the SEIU, a union, that profs get paid $15,000 per course. The article states that many view this as shocking:

Most observers agree that adjunct instructors deserve better pay, but what about $15,000 per course? The Service Employees International Union shocked even some adjunct activists last week when it announced that figure as a centerpiece of its new faculty advocacy campaign. But while union leaders admit the number is bold, those involved in the campaign say adjuncts might as well aim big, since they have little to lose. They also say they hope the $15,000 figure will force a national conversation about just how colleges spend their money, if not on middle-class salaries for instructors.

I do not find this shocking at all. In most law schools, FT faculty teach 2 classes a semester. While the amount they make varies widely, many schools start them out in the $140,000 range and it goes up from their. They also get benefits, an office a research budget.

So, if you pay an adjunct $15,000 per course, that comes to $60,000 per year. That is still a bargain-a big bargain for universities. Yes, I know most adjuncts do not do research-though some do and I do, but is research worth close to $100,000 per year.

Now, I now the numbers would be a bit different for colleges because college profs tend to teach more classes. However, it is submitted that adjuncts are grossly underpaid in colleges as well. 


Maybe some day, colleges and grad schools will recognize if you pay adjuncts a decent wage, they will get a better employee, a motivated employee. Guess who benefits? The students!!! But since when is this about the students???

Think about it.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein 


February 9, 2015 in Adjunct Information in General, College Professors | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Pryal: A Manifesto for the Freelance Academic

Katie Rose Guest Pryal, Clinical Assistant Professor of Law at UNC-Chapel Hill, has written "A Manifesto for the Freelance Academic" at Vitae.  The subtitle is "Five principles to guide you in a career without a university employer."  At universities today, an increasingly large percentage of classes are taught by adjunct or untenured professors, and this trend is not likely to change soon -- Professor Pryal says as much in her essay. 

Pryal's SSRN page is here and her webpage is here.  As To Kill A Mockingbird remains among my favorite novels, I look forward to reading this essay soon.

Craig Estlinbaum

November 3, 2014 in Adjunct Information in General, Blogs, Faculty, College Professors | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Canned College Lectures

Glean is a relatively new service which has several videos on many different college topics such as calculus and chemistry. Students may find these videos helpful.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Hat Tip: Professor Leilani Cohen, Atlantic Tech

January 9, 2014 in College Professors, Colleges | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 6, 2013

41st Conference -National Center For Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Ed

The 41st Annual Conference by the National Center For The Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education will be held April 6 to 8th at Hunter College. 

I have gone to this conference and it is run well. This year's program features former NLRB Chair Wilma Liebman as well as a host of other experts. The program will be held in CUNY's graduate center. 

Other important topics which may be of interest to readers include  

 Research Panel: The Impact of the Use of Contingent Faculty on Higher Education Results
Michelle Kiss, Executive Assistant, Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, California State University System 
Dan Maxey, Dean's Fellow in Urban Education Policy, Pullias Center for Higher Education, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California 
Hongwei Yu, Research Assistant, University of Illinois, Champaign, Office of Community College Research 
Jeffrey Frumkin, Associate Vice Provost and Senior Director, Academic Human Resources, University of Michigan, Moderator

 Collective Bargaining Results Regarding Contingent Faculty 

Ken Hawkinson, Provost and Academic Vice President, Western Illinois University 
Rudy Fichtenbaum, President, American Association of University Professors 
Karen L. Roberts, President, Long Beach Certificated Hourly Instructors-LBCC-CHI/NEA
Holly Lawrence, Secretary, Clerk, Massachusetts Society of Professors/MTA/NEA, University of Massachusetts, Amherst 
Pamela Silverblatt, Vice Chancellor, Labor Relations, City University of New York, Moderator 

Views from Our Community: Labor Strategies in Organizing Contingent Faculty 
Phil Kugler, Special Assistant to the President for Organizing, American Federation of Teachers
Michelle Gallagher, Esq., Consultant for Higher Education, Massachusetts Teachers Association
Harris Freeman, Professor of Legal Research and Writing, Western New England University, Moderator
Panel in Formation

 Views from Our Community: Administrators' Perspectives on the Organizing of Contingent Faculty

Theodore Curry, Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Human Resources; Professor, School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Michigan State University
Susan Pearson, Associate Chancellor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Moderator 
Panel in Formation

 International Perspectives on Non-Tenure Track Faculty

Robyn May, Griffith University, Melbourne, Australia
Helen Fairfoul, Chief Executive, Universities and Colleges Employers Association, United Kingdom
Laurence Hopkins, Head of Research, Universities and Colleges Employers Association, United Kingdom
Cindy Oliver, President, Federation of Post-Secondary Educators, British Columbia, Canada
Michael Zweig, Professor and Director, Center for Study of Working Class Life, Stony Brook University, State University of New York, UUP, Moderator

 Legal Issues in Higher Education: Year in Review

Richard Griffin, NLRB General Counsel 
Nicholas DiGiovanni, Esq., Morgan, Brown & Joy 
Aaron Nisenson, Esq., Senior Legal Counsel, American Association of University Professors

 Additional information can be found  by downloading  Download 41st Annual National Conference--Updated Preliminary Program (1)

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

December 6, 2013 in College Professors, Conferences, CLE, Information | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Interesting Facts About Phd Programs

Kyara from Online-from, a commmercial site, wrote to inform us about an interesting  infographic Doctorate Degrees: Are They Worth It?

This infographic is full of statisical information about jobs and salaries. I found that the most interesting section outlined the youngest people who were awarded this disagree. One person was even awarded this degree at age 13!

Mitchell H. Rubinstein


November 29, 2013 in College Professors, Colleges | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 8, 2013

On Professors on Wikipedia

Anna Samoilenko and Taha Yasseri's study, "The Distorted Mirror of Wikipedia: a Quantitative Analysis of Wikipedi Coverage of Academics" is posted at the Cornell University Library.  Robinson Meyer has commentary on the paper on The Atlantic.  He writes:

Does your professor have their own Wikipedia page? Well congratulations!, a new study finds. That probably doesn’t mean anything important.

The Oxford University study, submitted for review to EPJ Data Science* late last week, found no meaningful correlation between an academic having their own entry on Wikipedia and being productive or prolific in their field. It also didn’t find a correlation between any major measure of Wikipedia success—the length of an entry, say, or the number of edits to that entry—and an academic’s prolificness.

In short, a scientist having their own Wikipedia entry means—to use a technical term—diddly squat.

Hardly surprising, when you think about it.

Craig Estlinbaum

November 8, 2013 in College Professors, Technology | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 18, 2013

SMU Law: Federal Circuit and Patent Law Symposium

The SMU Dedmon School of Law will host its 10th Annual Symposium on Emerging Intellectual Property Issues on March 22, 2013, with a presentation titled "The Federal Circuit and Patent Law."  The one day symposium includes four panel discussions - The Federal Circuit's Stewardship of Patent Law: A View from the Bench; Institutional Roles: The Federal Circuit and the Supreme Court; Allies or Competitors: The Federal Circuit and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; and Innovation, Disruptive Technologies and the Federal Circuit.  Bernard J. Knight, Jr., General Counsel, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is scheduled to deliver the luncheon and keynote address.  A complete brochure for the symposium is here.

Craig Estlinbaum

March 18, 2013 in College Professors, Conferences, CLE, Conferences, Faculty, Federal Law, Judges, Law Professors | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Profology and Other Adjunct News


The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports that Bob Ertischek, an adjunct professor at Monroe Community College in Rochester, has created a social media network for people working in higher education.  The site is called Profology.  The site describes itself as "a place where faculty and other higher education professionals can meet, exchange ideas and work to improve pedagogy, research, classroom technology and assessment, and more."  The platform actually opened in beta in 2011, and went fully operational sometime last year, but I just heard about it, so it's news to me.  And now, maybe to you.

IRS and Adjuncts

The IRS has posted guidance in the Federal Register relating to compensation for adjunct faculty, according to a Huffington Post report earlier this month.  From the HuffPo story:

The IRS noted in the Federal Register that "educational organizations generally do not track the full hours of service of adjunct faculty, but instead compensate adjunct faculty on the basis of credit hours taught." In short, most colleges are only paying part-time instructors for time spent in a classroom, and nothing for time spent grading or preparing.

The Treasury Department and the IRS are considering and "invite further comment on how best to determine the full-time status of employees" like educators, who may work many hours after students leave the classroom.

Correctly classifying adjunct, part-time or non-tenured faculty has taken on increased importance as the Affordable Care Act provisions relating to employer coverage come into effect.

Adjuncts and Governance

A joint subcommittee of the Association’s Committee on Contingency and the Profession and the Committee on College and University Governance, approved a final version of a report, "The Inclusion in Governance of Faculty Members Holding Contingent Appointments."  The report includes a broad range of recommendations designed to address the fact that more and more teaching at college and universities is performed by adjunct, part-time or non-tenured faculty.  Collene Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed has a summary and commentary on the report here.

Craig Estlinbaum

January 24, 2013 in Adjuncts in the News, College Professors, Colleges, Faculty in the News, Tax Law Information | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Do College Professors Work Hard Enough??

David Levy, a former Chancellor at New School University, wrote an op ed article in the March 25, 2012 Washington Post where he basically argues that professors get paid too much for the work they do. As he states:

With the 1970s advent of collective bargaining in higher education, this began to change. The result has been more equitable circumstances for college faculty, who deserve salaries comparable to those of other educated professionals. Happily, senior faculty at most state universities and colleges now earn $80,000 to $150,000, roughly in line with the average incomes of others with advanced degrees.

Not changed, however, are the accommodations designed to compensate for low pay in earlier times. Though faculty salaries now mirror those of most upper-middle-class Americans working 40 hours for 50 weeks, they continue to pay for teaching time of nine to 15 hours per week for 30 weeks, making possible a month-long winter break, a week off in the spring and a summer vacation from mid-May until September.

Paul Krugman responds by writing an op ed for the New York Times. Professor Krugman, who teaches a Princeton, take is that "the idea that faculty at big state schools, let alone community colleges, have it easy is just mind-boggling."

    My take on this is that anyone who thinks being a professor is easy because it only involves teaching 3 classes a semester does not know what most professors do. Teaching is only a small part of what they do. To teach 9 hours a week, the professor must prepare. They must also keep abreast of the latest developments in their fields. Many also spend a considerable amount of time doing research, meeting with students and serving on faculty committees. 

Are some professors dead wood. Of course, but some doctors, lawyers, accountants, journalists are deadwood as well. 

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

March 26, 2012 in College Professors | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, February 10, 2012

College Student Suspended For Writing About Being Attracted To Professor

Oakland University (near Detroit) reportedly suspended a student for 3 semesters because he wrote in a class assignment that he found his instructors attractive. The course specifically permitted students to write creatively about any topic. In one entry titled "Hot for Teacher," the student tells a story about being worried because he is distracted in class by attractive professors. From the Press Release I saw, nothing vulgar was written. I do not know how many stories were written.

The student has retained a lawyer and is apparently bringing a First Amendment case to challenge his suspension. He is supported by an organization called Foundation For Individual Rights in Education, or "FIRE." You can read more about this bizzare story here.

UPDATE: February 13, 2012

It appears that some of the participants in this matter have chosen to comment. Their comments appear below.  

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

February 10, 2012 in College Professors, Colleges, Constitutional Law, Education Law | Permalink | Comments (29)

Monday, April 11, 2011

4th Circuit Holds Garcetti Does Not Apply To Public Universities


Adams v. Trustees of the Univ. of North Carolina-Wilmington, ___F.3d___ (4th Cir. April 6, 2011) is an important First Amendment case, particularly in higher education. 

Readers will recall that the Supreme Court in Garcetti further narrowed the First Amendment rights of public employees by drawing a distinction with respect to speech which was part of an employees job and purely private speech, with the only the later being constitutionally protected. Garcetti, however, also stated that the Court expressed no opinion whether that holding applied with respect to academic freedom issues because academic freedom is a special concern of the First Amendment. 

Now the 4th Circuit has spoken on this issue and held that Garcetti does not apply in the context of academic freedom. The plaintiff professor still has to meeting the public concern test as well as the Pickering balancing test, but he or she does not bear the additional burden under Garcetti of possibly facing dismissal if the speech was concerning the individuals employment. 

I agree with Professor Secunda over at Workplace Prof Blog who indicated that this case may be headed to the Supremes.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein 

April 11, 2011 in College Professors, First Amendment, Public Sector Employment Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Academic Pay Hit By The Economy

So you want to be a professor? If you do, you should not be interested in this career for the money-particularly in these times. An April 11, 2010 New York Times article states that faculty salary  increased by 1.2% which is the lowest increase in fifty years.  As the article states:

Academic pay has been squeezed by the recession, according to the annual salary survey by the American Association of University Professors.

Over all, salaries for this academic year are 1.2 percent higher than last year, the smallest increase recorded in the survey’s 50 years — and well below the 2.7 percent inflation rate from December 2008 to December 2009.

The survey found that average salary levels actually decreased this academic year at a third of colleges and universities, compared with 9 percent that reported lower average salaries in the previous two surveys. Private and church-related universities reported shrinking average salaries more often than public institutions.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

June 10, 2010 in College Professors, Law Professors | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On Last Minute Pre-Exam Questions

If you are a law professor, adjunct or otherwise, your exam season is likely either here or just around the corner.  Professor Jessie Hill (Case Western Reserve) at PrawfBlawg today posted, "Could you please summarize civil procedure for me?" -- a timely post seeking comments on how to handle email questions from students as the final exam approaches.

I do not keep regular office hours - once the last class ends, I only take questions by email, but I send the answer to all the students who give me an email address, mostly on the premise that if one student has the question, others probably do too.  My normal class has 15 students, give or take a couple, most of whom are 3L's, so I'm not normally bombarded with questions (knock on wood).  I have had good luck with answers that do not directly answer the question so much as provide the student leads on where the answer might be found.

Of course, no student has ever asked, "Could you please summarize civil procedure for me?" either.

Craig Estlinbaum

April 27, 2010 in College Professors | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Electronic Texts Are Here!

The New York Times reported on Feb. 21, 2010 that electronic texts are here. That article can be found by here,

Thought the article is about college texts, seems to me that electronic texts are even more valuable to law professors in that case updates can be immediately inserted, links can also be provided etc. It also seems to me that all of this can be done in a MS Word document as well, cutting out the publisher completely. Perhaps, Profs can sell their documents directly resulting in a better and more cost efficient product for everyone.

The article describes electronic publishing as follows:

In a kind of Wikipedia of textbooks, Macmillan, one of the five largest publishers of trade books and textbooks, is introducing software called DynamicBooks, which will allow college instructors to edit digital editions of textbooks and customize them for their individual classes.

Professors will be able to reorganize or delete chapters; upload course syllabuses, notes, videos, pictures and graphs; and perhaps most notably, rewrite or delete individual paragraphs, equations or illustrations.

While many publishers have offered customized print textbooks for years — allowing instructors to reorder chapters or insert third-party content from other publications or their own writing — DynamicBooks gives instructors the power to alter individual sentences and paragraphs without consulting the original authors or publisher.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

March 1, 2010 in College Professors, Colleges, Law Professors, Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Kenneth Starr to Baylor University

The Los Angeles Times reports this afternoon that Kenneth Starr, former United States Solicitor General, is leaving his post as Dean of the Pepperdine Law School to become president of Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Craig Estlinbaum

February 15, 2010 in College Professors, Colleges, Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Master's Degree Explosion

Ten Master's of the New Universe is an interesting Jan. 5, 2010 article from the New York Times. It highlights the fact that there has been an explosion in the amount of Master's degrees. As the article states:

And then came the quiet revolution. Spawned by a realization in university circles that master’s programs could be wildly profitable — especially within low-cost departments of continuing education — and a growing sense that in a shifting employment market the best jobs would require specialized training, such degrees have exploded. Nearly twice as many master’s degrees were awarded in 2008 than in 1980.

These programs provide a field guide to the zeitgeist. There are degrees to fit every niche and new twist in the culture, whether homeland security, social networking, hybrid cars or narrative medicine. The following pages highlight just a handful of them. While there is an argument to be made — and plenty of intellectual heavyweights have made it — that the tight focus on highly specialized career training dilutes the mission of the academy, many say the trend is merely a recognition of modern realities. Colleges are strapped for cash, and master’s programs are a low-cost way to get it: they don’t require undergraduate services like dorms or the high student-teacher ratio of doctoral programs. Master’s candidates, unlike Ph.D.’s, almost always pay full freight, often $30,000 or more a year.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

February 12, 2010 in College Professors, Colleges | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 4, 2010

University of Hawaii Cuts Faculty Salaries

From the Associated Press:

The University of Hawaii has decided to unilaterally slash faculty salaries by 6.7 percent beginning this week to cope with state budget cuts, the school announced.

University President M.R.C. Greenwood on Monday said in a letter to faculty that the cuts would take effect Friday and would be reflected in paychecks issued Jan. 15. Faculty will be informed of details in a payroll notification that the school plans to distribute early next month.

The school must act because it's been unable to reach a settlement with the faculty union on a new collective bargaining agreement during 15 months of negotiations, Greenwood said.

Read the full story.

Craig Estlinbaum

January 4, 2010 in College Professors, Colleges, Contract Issues, Unions | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Plagiarism Scanner

Here is a new one. A company actually is marketing a plagiarism scanner. It can be used by students or profs. It only seems to scan the internet so it is of limited utility for lawyers and law professors. A link to it can be found here.

It is questionable that such a program can be of any use to a student (college or law student) as they have no need to check if something they wrote was improper. I can see profs making some use out of this service because they can check on students. I suppose journals and tenure committees could also make use of such a scanner to check on the profs. 

A plagiarism scan does not come cheap, but it is not overly expensive either. The prices are as follows:

       Personal - 10,000 words, $14.95

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

October 21, 2009 in College Professors, Law Professors, Law Students | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Professor Insurance

Peter Schmidt wrote an excellent Oct. 2, 2009 article for The Chronicle Of Higher Education entitled "Professors Are Pitched Lawsuit Protection." (registration required). It discusses an issue that professors do not like to talk about-being sued. Professors can be sued for defamation or worse yet for sexual harassment. Fortunately, as the article states, insurance can be purchased at very affordable rates. Unfortunately, most profs do not take advantage of this.

The article features a law professor who was threatened with a defamation lawsuit for something she wrote in a law review article. As the article states:

Merle H. Weiner, a professor of law at the University of Oregon, received two rude surprises after the University of San Francisco Law Review published her article about how international courts treat domestic-violence victims.

The first was that the plaintiff in a case she had cited in her footnotes accused her of defamation and threatened to sue her if she did not remove a reference to him in versions published online.

The article is not written for lawyers. Therefore, we do not why the university was not responsible. Seems to me that with respect to scholarship, the university is generally responsible because the prof is working within the scope of his or her employment. Sexual harassment cases are a bit different, but I am even aware of cases on the secondary level holding that school districts have a duty to defend such suits.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

September 28, 2009 in College Professors, Law Professors | Permalink | Comments (0)