Thursday, April 26, 2018
Business

Career Q&A: 10 years, no raise for adjunct instructor

Q: Ten years ago, I became an adjunct instructor at a local university. At the time, the going rate for adjuncts was $2,500 per semester for each class taught. Amazingly, our pay hasn't increased one penny since. An older instructor says he received the same amount 20 years ago.

Whenever someone asks about increasing pay for adjunct faculty, management replies that they need to control costs. Yet somehow administrators and professors seem to get raises on a regular basis. From what I hear, this also happens at other universities. Any thoughts about how to fix this?

A: When compared to the work required, pay for adjunct instructors has historically been abysmal. Calculating the hourly rate would be seriously depressing, so I suggest avoiding that exercise. Given the amount of money saved by using adjuncts, denying pay increases for a decade or so is absolutely inexcusable.

A couple of unfortunate realities probably contribute to this situation. For one thing, adjuncts are typically not an organized group. They usually come from different fields, have individual employment contracts and seldom interact with one another. As a result, their collective concerns are rarely discussed.

Additionally, some people see part-time teaching as a way to enhance their resume, promote their services or fill an employment gap. Because this is a temporary gig to obtain other benefits, compensation becomes less important. If enough of these folks are available, principles of supply and demand begin to apply.

Since all these factors reduce influence, you need to find ways to increase your leverage. Start by connecting with other adjuncts and developing a plan to get the administration's attention. Instructors who have strong reputations or political connections might be especially useful in presenting your case.

If the direct approach fails, other options might include appealing to the appropriate governing body, contacting local reporters or connecting with national adjunct associations. Although your group has to determine the most effective strategy, one thing is certain. If you wait for management to do the right thing, you might be waiting for a very long time.

Supervisor's friend harasses employees

Q: Our supervisor's friend frequently visits our store as a customer. "Jake" orders the staff around and acts like he owns the place. He and our boss have lengthy personal conversations and often take 30-minute smoke breaks together.

He also makes suggestive comments that are totally inappropriate. For example, if I take a break to pump breast milk for my daughter, he grins and asks if I'd like help. We've complained to our supervisor, but she refuses to confront him. Should we tell upper management?

A: Management has an obligation to protect employees from harassment by customers, so you could reasonably take these concerns to the next level. Just be sure to reduce the risk of retaliation by going as a group and requesting confidentiality.

Instead of becoming angry or upset, present the facts calmly and accurately. Clearly describe how Jake's unacceptable behavior is offending employees and harming the business. Explain that you're requesting higher-level help because your supervisor seems unable or unwilling to address the issue.

Comments
Cities turn to private inspectors as construction booms, and problems follow

Cities turn to private inspectors as construction booms, and problems follow

ST. PETERSBURG --- With construction booming throughout Florida, private inspectors are increasingly reviewing the work of building contractors. But that has sometimes led to missed code violations and other problems.Now the city of St. Petersburg is...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Almost half of all homes for sale in Tampa Bay are unaffordable for first-time buyers

Almost half of all homes for sale in Tampa Bay are unaffordable for first-time buyers

Times Staff WriterAlmost half of all homes on the market in the Tampa Bay area are unaffordable for many buyers. According to Zillow, 48.7 percent of homes for sale are "high-end --- more than $348,0000 in Tampa Bay -- while just 20.5 percent are "l...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecast in first quarter

Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecast in first quarter

TAMPA — Growing sales at Outback Steakhouse have once again led parent company Bloomin’ Brands to beat Wall Street’s expectations, the latest quarterly report shows.But the Tampa-based restaurant group’s other chains are failing to keep up. Bloomin’ ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Focus crossover and Mustang will be only Ford sedans sold in North American dealerships

Focus crossover and Mustang will be only Ford sedans sold in North American dealerships

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it will shed most of its North American car lineup as part of broad plan to save money and make the company more competitive in a fast-changing marketplace.The changes include getting rid of all cars in...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Domino’s lifts curtain on ‘pizza theater’ in Lutz

Domino’s lifts curtain on ‘pizza theater’ in Lutz

LUTZ — Domino’s new ‘pizza theater’ store recently opened in Lutz, just outside of the Ballantrae subdivision. The store features the open-concept pizza theater design which offers viewing of the food preparation process.There is also a comfortable l...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Engaged couple opens chiropractic practice for all ages on W Hillsborough Ave

Engaged couple opens chiropractic practice for all ages on W Hillsborough Ave

TAMPA — Dr. Kaylee Canalungo and Dr. Kace Groff were attending Palmer College of Chiropractic in different states when a mutual friend introduced them. After graduating and working together at a chiropractic office in New York, they are engaged to be...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Clean Juice gets 3rd spot in Hyde Park Village

Michelle Piniella forecast about another South Tampa Clean Juice location in March, and now it’s official. The healthy, fresh juice concept has secured a lease with Hyde Park Village.The opening date is to be announced this summer as it is currently ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Cuban cuisine transformed at Armature Works

Cuban cuisine transformed at Armature Works

DOWNTOWN — Felicia Lacalle says cuban cooking is in her blood as she traditionally learned from her mother growing up. Since then she has perfected her craft finding ways to recreate classic dishes with a modern twist and now she aims to change the C...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Who books 4,600 hotel nights in Hillsborough? TV commercial crews, and they keep on coming

Who books 4,600 hotel nights in Hillsborough? TV commercial crews, and they keep on coming

TAMPA — Hillsborough County interim film commissioner Tyler Martinolich has a unique approach to channel surfing. He searches for two kinds of commercials: those made in his county and those he thinks should have been."Television commercials mean mon...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Why does Yelp think Asian restaurants serve cat and dog meat?

Why does Yelp think Asian restaurants serve cat and dog meat?

A strange thing happened when typing "dog menu" into the restaurant ratings website and app Yelp. It automatically generated suggested searches. There were dog massage, hot dogs, pet groomers. Also: "dog meat." But it got more disturbing. Take Yelp...
Updated: 8 hours ago