Is higher education really higher education without faculty tenure? I say no. Just check out the loan default rates and unemployment rates of for-profit university alums, where tenure is non-existent, to public or private university graduates. But our current generation of “leaders” suggest that they’re happy to follow Kaplan and Phoenix down the rabbit hole. Like the failed leaders in our political life and financial sectors, it looks like today’s provosts are happy to chase fads and engage in an academic version of pump-and-dump: “pump” up the adjunct rates and “dump” the tenured faculty while they run the clock out on their careers.Yes, that's one of the effects of the all-administrative university. And it's amusing to note those administrators responding to one of the incentives in the so-called Affordable Care Act.
After all, they won’t be around when the price of a hollowed-out tenured faculty becomes clear. They’re doing more with less now and reaping the rewards, so what do they care?
Robert Balla, an adjunct professor of English at Stark State College, in North Canton, Ohio received a letter in which he was told that “in order to avoid penalties under the Affordable Care Act…employees with part-time or adjunct status will not be assigned more than an average of 29 hours per week.” He told the [Wall Street] Journal that the move cut his $40,000 salary by about $2,000 and that he cannot afford health insurance.No doubt there is a deanlet or deanling in the personnel department anticipating a large bonus.
It is worth contemplating where the price of a hollowed-out tenured faculty will be paid first.
The more aggressive an institution of higher education is at doing more with less, the more intense the competition to get into the most highly regarded institutions becomes. News flash: middling students, returning adults, and strivers without the credentials, connections, or good high school guidance will be hardest hit.