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Adjuncts: Job security and grade inflation

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:29 pm
by Nate W.
Dear Forum:

I wanted to get your thoughts on this article about adjuncts and grade inflation:


http://www.slate.com/articles/life/educ ... on_it.html


This has become a serious issue among local professors trying to maintain standards in the classroom while trying to preserve their jobs. 70% of all local faculty are adjuncts who make below the poverty level.

The adjuncts and tenure faculty want to help their students but they also feel they shouldn't have to accommodate a student's every request when they are unhappy about their grades. A teacher has a responsibility to be a fair and objective evaluator of a student's mastery of the course material. However, this can't be achieved when the teacher is expected to treat the student as a "customer who is always right" or fear losing their job. Adjuncts are in a precarious situation financially and from a position of power.

Often Deans and administrators defend this educational philosophy to the determent of both the student and the teacher. When an unhappy and adamant student doesn't get their way, the policies often give the students the power to make false accusations against the teacher. Thus, students can use the complaint process as a coercive tool to get their way. The administration often are more interested in accommodating the unhappy student for monetary reasons than finding out the truth of the situation. When an administrator ignores the complaint process and overly accommodates the students, it only enables a student to file false complaints. This pattern of behavior eventually erodes grading standards. The student losses out when they are unprepared to take the next higher level class at a four institution where standards are more likely maintained. Plus, the student earned a grade they didn't deserve which sets a horrible example when it comes to issues of work ethics and transparency.


This only sets up a slippery slope. In order for a teacher to get good student evaluations to keep their jobs, they feel they must lower their standards and inflate grades. Why don't Deans and administrative faculty understand this problem?

A colleague of mine and an excellent teacher of 20 yrs lost her job because of one unreasonable student and a single bad complaint from this student. HR admitted the Dean didn't follow the complaint procedures and made his decision before all students evaluations were reviewed. Further, the Dean didn't talk with the teacher nor did he write a summary of his investigation as required by college policies. HR found nothing criminal and anything that violated college policies. However, the Dean has stood his ground and refuses to admit any wrongdoing. The article typifies what this teacher has faced.

What would you do in this situation? What advice would you give the teacher?

Re: Adjuncts: Job security and grade inflation

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 11:44 am
by Nate W.
Here is another article that provides some background information on the adjunct problem in the US:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/arc ... ry/404461/