A community college sacrifices many full-time lecturers

bergenlogoA New Jersey community college ended the positions of 64 faculty members.  Two weeks ago Bergen Community College decided to cut these non-tenure-track but full-time instructors.  That’s around one month before fall term begins.

It’s really another queen sacrifice.  As usual, the institution cites declining enrollment. Bergen also blames declining revenue, which in this case means lowering tuition and state support.  “Bergen’s enrollment has declined by more than 1,900 in [2010] to 15,651 in Fall 2014…”

Bergen and all but one of the 18 other community colleges in New Jersey have had to rely on stagnant county and state funding while tuition revenues dropped because of declining enrollment…

Funding from the county has increased – it went up by $500,000 this year over last year – but state funding stayed the same for the past few years and has declined over the last decade, [school spokesman Larry Hlavenka Jr.] said.

It’s not the first cut Bergen’s now doing, as it comes right after “150 part-time staffers either had their hours eliminated or reduced earlier in the month in an effort to save $1 million more”.

Community colleges saw enrollment boom when the Great Recession began, but decline in recent years as the “recovery” proceeded.  Which is a shame, given that CCs have the best prices in American higher education.

And yet for many in academia this won’t count as a queen sacrifice, because the instructors aren’t tenure-track.  Listen to their (now former) working situation:

The lecturers carry a full teaching load – about five courses each semester – and are paid $38,600 a year plus benefits. They must reapply for their jobs each semester and are considered temporary employees…

Five classes a term, for under $40K in a state that isn’t cheap to live in.  And what now for these people?  They “are being asked to reapply as adjuncts, who make about $2,100 per course and have no benefits…”

In the hierarchy of American higher education, these lecturers are far down in the pecking order.  For some, they aren’t real professors.  But to hell with that.  I’m counting this as a queen sacrifice.

(via Recession Realities in Higher Education)

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4 Responses to A community college sacrifices many full-time lecturers

  1. Barbara says:

    What do you hear about whether graduate programs are still churning out humanities master and doctorate degrees to fill dwindling positions? I suppose the smart programs are trying to carve out new paths of employment for those traditionally higher ed degrees.

    Having worked at both Valdosta State (previous post) as a “full-time temporary” and at a community college as staff, and at another private college as an assistant prof (non-tenure track), I think I’m glad to be retired.

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  2. 1111Me says:

    The enrollment being down is a lie. They said it was at a record high last year. Why not cut those full-timers with tenure who add nothing of value to the college and keep the bright, creative minds instead? Or perhaps stop building $10 million student centers? Or, cut administrative salaries instead of cutting some of the best and brightest professors, the fabric of the educational system there?

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