Skip to Content

Contingent Faculty Deserve Professional Pay

How To Prepare for the Bargaining Table

Contingent faculty carry different job titles at different higher education institutions, but whether they're called adjuncts, lecturers, or instructors, they all confront the same reality: low pay, few or no benefits, and little job security.

The majority of new faculty hired at colleges and universities today are contingents, not tenure system (tenured and tenure-track) faculty. Forty-one percent of all faculty are employed part-time.

The savings to colleges and universities are considerable. Contingents are paid by the course taught, at a fraction of what tenure system faculty earn. Many so-called part-timers teach a full-time load, but without the health care and retirement benefits a tenure system faculty member receives. Many contingents hold second and third jobs, or are "freeway flyers," teaching courses at several institutions and spending more time in their cars than on campus interacting with students.

Teaching conditions are student learning conditions. How can a student get extra help during faculty office hours if his instructor doesn't have an office? How accessible can a faculty member be when she holds a full-time job outside the institution to make ends meet?

Contingent faculty are worth professional pay. And on campuses around the nation, they're organizing to win better salaries, benefits, and professional rights.

NEA offers resources and assistance to contingents interested in starting professional pay campaigns at their institutions. The materials below provide organizing tips and background on contingent pay issues. To learn more about starting a campaign, contact

For More: