Letter to the Editor: Part Time Faculty

To the Editor,

As a full-time faculty member at Youngstown State University, I take offense as to the way our Vice President of Finance and Business Operations described our part-time faculty. Neal McNally stated that our adjuncts were overpaid for 20 of the last 25 years, and that YSU’s adjuncts were using their emotions instead of logic regarding the fact that they have not received a raise in 27 years.

McNally claims he has statistics to show that our adjuncts are paid what other universities around the country are paid. If this is the case, then I am confident YSU would not mind if they were made public, and I would ask that those statistics be published in a future edition of The Jambar. As someone who used to teach part-time in the Maryland and Virginia areas, I know for a fact that community colleges there paid almost double what YSU is paying their Ph.D. adjuncts. While our area has a lower cost of living, that cost of living has gone up considerably in the past 27 years. Surely McNally knows this, as YSU has raised student tuition over those same years for cost-of-living inflation.

I also know that many of our Ohio-area schools (such as Ohio State University and Wright State University) pay teachers according to the subject, whereas YSU pays all adjuncts a flat rate. This makes it incredibly difficult to find adjunct faculty who are willing to teach in areas such as IT, STEM or math because these people can go elsewhere and are paid what the market will bear.

Lastly, I would hope that any school like YSU, whose adjunct population makes up almost 50 percent of our faculty, and whom we literally cannot function without, would pay our part-timers well. YSU smartly paid a great wage 27 years ago, with the hopes of attracting the best and the brightest adjuncts we could for the sake of our students. These adjuncts don’t just teach, they create course curriculum, and bring real-world experience into our classrooms. Now, 27 years later, we assume that our part-timers will somehow stay loyal to YSU, a school that is now publicly telling adjuncts that they should consider themselves lucky that we offer them free parking.

I am ashamed that we would treat our adjunct faculty in this manner, and I suspect that the administration’s callous response to their plight will cause these dedicated teachers to work elsewhere. I was under the impression that we were all supposed to be unified in improving YSU. How have your comments helped YSU, Mr. McNally?

Susan Clutter, Associate Professor
Youngstown State University
Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences Department