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International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine

www.IntJHumNutrFunctMed.Org

2016 Final PDF

“Instruct students to complete Course

Evaluations.”

Simple perhaps, but this is an institutional issue that should be automated

or managed by infrastructure and staff.

“Duplicate written materials.”

Professors should not have to waste time in line for the photocopy

machine. This is an institutional issue that should be automated or

managed by infrastructure and staff.

Partnership with Peers”

All of the following “partnerships” and “opportunities” listed below benefit

the school while being performed for free by the professor. Thus, they

reflect a misuse of the word “partnership” and are better described as

“wage theft” and “exploitation.”

“Advise Program Coordinator regarding last-

minute schedule changes.”

Reasonable

“Attend program faculty meetings and cross-

program all-faculty meetings”

This is outrageous. These are meetings that last for hours or entire series

of days, and this university is expecting a professor who is paid for only 3

hours to prepare, dress, travel, engage/attend all of these meetings for

free—this is absurd.

“Serve on committees that further the work of

the academic programs”

What an assertive imposition and demand for unlimited unpaid work.

These are meetings that last for hours or entire series of days, and this

university is expecting a professor who is paid for only 3 hours to prepare,

dress, travel, engage/attend all of these meetings for free—this is absurd.

“Participate in Ad Hoc faculty work groups.”

Yet another assertive imposition and demand for unlimited unpaid work.

These are meetings that last for hours or entire series of days, and this

university is expecting a professor who is paid for only 3 hours to prepare,

dress, travel, engage/attend all of these meetings for free—this is absurd.

Supervise and mentor teaching assistants.

More time commitment without compensation.

Attend Commencement ceremony.

Note that this massive list of unlimited

and time-consuming “responsibilities”

is attached to a contract for 3 hours of

teaching per week, which does not

even pay for time to develop materials,

grade papers, or talk with students

Imagine an online professor having to fly to a different state, rent a car or

find transportation to a nearby hotel, attend commencement ceremony,

pay for 2 nights in the hotel, return the rental car after 2-3 days of

charges, and then fly home -- and do all of that at their own expense.

Although some faculty might choose to do that, it is financially

unsustainable. The school is asking the professor to incur days of travel

and thousands of dollars in expenses, all for the sake of teaching their

best material to the best of their ability. These expenses and obligations

make zero sense in the real world.

“Be familiar with all other courses in your

program so that you understand how your

course fits into the overall program.”

This looks and sounds reasonable on paper, until you find yourself as a

professor spending hours and days reviewing other coursework at your

own expense. Notice that the university wants integration and cohesion,

but only at the burden of goodwill and free work by the professor. Again,

hours and days of free work to benefit the program, unpaid work by the

professor. This and the examples above demonstrate employee

misclassification, wage theft, and payroll fraud.

Curbing Enthusiasm to Preserve Enthusiasm:

Conclusion to Part 1

Don’t be so fast to sign that contract, but if you sign one as bad

as the example above, my judgement is that you could probably

escape from it on the basis of employee misclassification and

wage theft because the school has misrepresented your

position—even if they gave you a title such as Adjunct

Professor—because they are working you like a full-time

professor (work that is salaried per hour with a limitation on

time worked) but only paying you as an independent contractor

($X for few X hours). Teach for free if you want to teach for

free; volunteer unpaid hours if you want to—but do these things

consciously and not from any sense of obligation. Do not

confuse being a “professor” with being the workhorse and

unpaid servant of a university that asks you sign a contract that

gives them unlimited control over your work schedule and

forces you to attend meetings at your own expense. Tell them

you need the contract re-written, tell them that you need more

appropriate compensation for the hours, and that the obligations

need a

finite

end. But please remind yourself that you are not a

slave to anyone nor to any institution. Do not let your love for

learning and teaching become your Achilles’ heel; don’t let your

passions and talents become your weakness and downfall via

overwork that leads to exhaustion and burn-out. If the school

offers you exploitation in exchange for your talents, walk away

and find a school or a group such as

www.ICHNFM.ORG

that

has a core value system designed around the incentivization of

excellence. Ultimately and obviously, when administrators fail

to provide decent and fair—let alone supportive and inspiring—

work conditions, intellectuals and professors must partner

together with each other for collective benefit and for the benefit

of the students and the quality of the educational and teaching

experience. More and more, university professors—both full-

time and those who are ancillary/adjunct—are working together

in unions to protect their livelihoods, the quality of education,

and the respect due to accomplished professors.* Intellectuals

and professionals tend to want to work independently, and they

have to overcome the erroneous idea that working together for

their common interest is somehow “below” the interests and

needs of professionals; but in these days of

neoliberal/neoconservative profiteering and underpayment and

outsourcing of talent, collective partnerships will be the only

way to eke out a decent living that sustains professionals in their

work.

*

http://prospect.org/article/when-adjuncts-go-union http://startribune.com/hamline-adjunct-faculty-votes-for-union

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