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WA Adjunct Professors Unite for Equal Pay

This is "Campus Equity Week," to call attention to the contributions of adjunct college professors. Credit: Green River United Faculty
This is "Campus Equity Week," to call attention to the contributions of adjunct college professors. Credit: Green River United Faculty
October 26, 2015

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Part-time college instructors and faculty are uniting this week for better pay and greater job security. Campus Equity Week brings attention to Washington's growing number of temporary, part-time instructors, often called adjuncts.

Michael Boggess is an adjunct professor at Pierce College where there are twice as many part-time faculty than full time.

"They don't have time to really invest in the life of the colleges," says Boggess. "They're teaching one class here and then going to another place and teaching and then going to another place and it becomes this ongoing search for work."

Overall, 66 percent of faculty in the state's public community and technical college system are part-time. Boggess say the numbers surprise many students and even legislators.

Boggess says it's important to understand their teaching conditions are the students' learning conditions.

"There's no sense of being able to give that individual attention outside of the classroom," he says. "Some of them, especially first-year students, really need that. You know, that shortchanges the parents who are paying a significant amount of money for tuition."

Boggess has been an adjunct instructor since 1999. He says colleges are hiring fewer tenured-track faculty, and when they do the competition is fierce.

"The spending on the administration end has been going up, while the spending on instruction is going down," says Boggess. "That's really a crisis in itself."

The American Federation of Teachers will hold events on various campuses this week and Gov. Jay Inslee has proclaimed Wednesday, Oct. 28, as Adjunct and Part-time Faculty Recognition Day.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - WA