Poverty-Level Instructor Workforce and Colorado’s Community College System


Nearly 80 percent of instructors in Colorado’s Community College system are part-time employees – also called adjuncts – which means they work without benefits and sick days. And even if they do work full time hours, they make far less than faculty in full-time positions. A fact that many say is pushing them into poverty, despite their advanced degrees.

Caprice Lawless and Nathanial Bork share their experience working as adjunct community college instructors.

One thought on “Poverty-Level Instructor Workforce and Colorado’s Community College System

  1. When the adjunct professor position was used properly they were professionals in a separate field, brought in to teach a special class about that field. Those days are long gone. Now, as the story says, up to 80% of all campuses are adjuncts, earning 60% less than full time faculty, but certainly not working 60% less!

    My partner has taught since 2008. She must work for three colleges, none of which are obligated to tell her in advance when or even if she’ll get classes. She can’t plan a budget or events in advance due to this uncertainty. When she IS lucky enough to get classes, she’s paid 3 “contact hours” per class per week, even though just one of the colleges insists that she maintain no less than 27 office hours per week in addition to class time. Office hours are, of course, unpaid and can’t be enforced. But if she doesn’t do it she’ll never get another class. When she has classes her work week averages 80-100 hours for sub-poverty level wages, all the while struggling with her own mountain of student debt.

    She is given NO benefits of any kind, and there’s no hope for advancement or a tenure track position. Colleges have no incentive to hire full time faculty anymore, when they can go through an army of adjuncts like so much used kleenex. This passed criminal LONG ago.

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