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ADJUNCT LECTURERS AS ENTREPRENEURS?

by E. Yvonne Brinkley, Adjunct Faculty Liaison
BRINKLEY@pg.cc.md.us
e.brink@verizon.net

Should adjunct faculty members see themselves as entrepreneurs? Adjunct professor Jill Carroll in Houston, Texas, thinks so. In How to Survive as an Adjunct Lecturer: An Entrepreneurial Strategy Manual, Carroll says, "Take any chance you get to participate more fully in the true education business of your hiring institutions..." (p. 102).

Carroll, who successfully juggles teaching assignments in or near Houston, Texas, explains that adjuncts "...can build a successful teaching practice and thereby earn stable, decent incomes in their chosen fields." Approaching her work as a businessperson seems to be working for her. Yet, taken to her conclusion, she leaves the reader with a lot of room for questioning her mind-set and methods.

Carroll says little about issues that generally concern adjuncts, such as professional development, recognition, more access to information, improved communication on campus, and salaries and benefits.

Carroll’s suggestions would be more useful if she realized that some adjunct professors do not wish to see teaching as the business proposition she advocates. College and university teachers should not have to use their time and energy finding "business," "clients," or "hustling," terms she often uses.

Smallwood (The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 3, 2001) points out that Carroll's personal success and as an adjunct is the basis for her recommended entrepreneurial paradigm.

After six years, she has fallen into a predictable rhythm of classes. She teaches four courses each year at Rice, for which she earns $5,500 apiece. She teaches six for the University of Houston-Clear Lake, including the one at the prison. And she teaches two more at the main campus of the University of Houston. Those public institutions pay considerably less, about $2,400 per course. Add in several continuing-education courses, and she has earned more than $50,000 for three years running.

She has made the entrepreneurial paradigm work for her. The question for all adjuncts to consider is will the entrepreneurial paradigm work for them?.

 

The Instructional Area Newsletter, Volume 17, No. 4

Spring 2002