A new non-profit organization has been created to help adjunct college professors who are in need of financial, emotional and professional support.
PrecariCorps is an independent, non-profit organization that plans to offer temporary relief for adjunct faculty by matching donations made to those in need once they are granted full 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. Once they gain that status, tax-deductible donations will be able to be given to the group from individuals such as full-time professors, administrators alumni and other interested parties, as well as organizations who wish to offer their support to adjunct and non-tenured faculty.
According to the organization, there has been a movement in college labor practices toward hiring more adjunct faculty members for the past 40 years, resulting in up to 75% of professors in the country holding non-tenure track positions. This shift has caused a crisis for higher education that the organization hopes to help solve, as they believe the stress resulting from the “insecure, unsupported, and economically unsustainable positions” also harms student learning conditions due to the professor having to work multiple jobs in order to make ends meet, therefore having less time and energy to devote to their students.
The group went on to say that most adjunct faculty are paid “poverty-level wages” averaging about $2,700 per course, with no benefits or institutional support.
The organization plans to have four purposes, each of which will have support programs to coincide with them.
The first purpose is to offer assistance to adjunct faculty through charitable donations in the form of cash assistance or grants.
In addition, the organization plans to create educational media to distribute to the public, such as parents, students, and the college communities at large. The information would include details on how colleges have learned to function after the recession.
Research will be performed concerning the role of adjunct faculty within the US economy pertaining to higher education in the hopes of instilling an understanding within the public of how administrations budget their financial resources as well as the affects this has on the population of faculty and students within their institutions, and the value of higher education as a whole.
The group also has plans to create a searchable archival system for ongoing faculty issues in the news.
“I’m most excited about helping relieve the stress that accompanies our inability to pay for our basic necessities, which helps not only the adjuncts ourselves, but our families and our students, who will be given more attention and care because we’ll be able to function more properly without the weight of stress,” Brianne Bolin, an adjunct instructor of writing and rhetoric and oral expression at Columbia College in Chicago, said via email. “To put it in the words of a slogan I saw painted onto a sign during [last year’s faculty strike at the University of Illinois at Chicago,] ‘Cultural capital can’t pay the bills.’ ”