Adjunctification is on the rise in institutions of higher education across the United States. This is not a new phenomenon; colleges and universities have been steadily relying more and more on the underpaid labor of part-time, nonbenefited faculty. As tenured faculty positions become more scarce and full-time positions disappear from departments, departments around the country are starting to worry about the future of their programs. In addition, the very part-time faculty that help to keep departments afloat fear for the future.
Credit-bearing ESL programs, programs that offer academic credit for ESL coursework, at community colleges and 4-year institutions are not exempt from this phenomenon. As ESL educators retire, departments are left wondering about how they will continue to support their programs with fewer long-term faculty members. Many departments have become saturated with adjunct faculty members who have taken over some or most of the teaching load within the department. These part-time faculty members often work at multiple institutions, lack job security, and lack a pipeline to full-time employment.
This begs the questions:
- How is the higher education landscape changing?
- How has the rise in adjunctification impacted ESL programs?
- What is the future of credit-bearing ESL programs?