ACADEMIC GHETTO

Problem

The word ghetto can be used to describe non-geographic, but similarly cut off situations where an individual gets stuck in an academic ghetto. Too many higher education level faculty members are contingent employees, who work on a yearly contract, or worse yet semester to semester. Some of these contingent employees are full-time lecturers, and more are adjunct instructors: part-time employees, paid per class, often without health insurance or retirement benefits.

Back in the seventies 78 percent of professors held tenure-track positions. By 2009 this percentage dropped to 33.5. percent. This is detrimental to learning because some adjunct faculty members, desperate to keep jobs, rely on easy courses and popularity with students to stay employed.

Others feel obligated to help students beyond office hours, essentially working for free in order to get the students the help they need to learn the curriculum.

At a time when tuition prices are skyrocketing, why is US skimping on the most fundamental aspect of higher education?