By: Lillian Beane, a Public Relations and Advertising major.
Working at Pfizer as an advertising designer, working at a dental office, you would not expect these individuals to also be standing in front of a room of thirty five students at Camden County College although they are the largest group of employees at Camden County College.
Adjunct professors are part-time professors usually working in their field of knowledge and taking out time from their schedules to give students the best education, from people who know the business. Adjunct professors out number full time professors at Camden County; there are 84% adjunct professors to 15 % full time professors, according to the leader of the adjunct union, Elaine Bobrove. Adjunct professors as defined by Camden County College are part-time faculty engaged as non-tenure track instructors, teaching less than fifteen contact hours per week and not employed in some other capacity by the College which, combined with their teaching responsibilities, would bring them to a full-time position. Adjunct professors are not tenured employees and do not have benefits.
Camden County College does have an option for job security through a union for adjunct professors; the Camden County College Adjunct Faculty Federation is the adjunct union chapter at Camden County College campuses in Blackwood, Camden and Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The Camden County College Adjunct Faculty Federation (CCCAFF) was founded in 1995 to represent the economic, social and professional interests of part-time contingent faculty. It is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the international union of the AFL-CIO. In 2009, the NJ AFT community college locals voted to join together to form a super local called United Adjunct Faculty of New Jersey (UAFNJ).
Adjunct professors are never certain if their duty as a professor will continue from semester to semester which seems manageable if every adjunct professor has the security of a full time job although this is not often the case. Many adjunct professors are not only adjunct professors at Camden County College but adjunct professors at many area colleges and do not have the benefits and security that a full time professor has although they may be teaching more than fifteen contact hours per week although in different colleges. Gerry Williams, a professor at Camden County College teaches six classes during the week, spends 14-16 hours a week doing prep work or grading papers and also holds a part time position at Rowan University teaching two classes. Gerry also makes time to freelance, mostly working with McGraw Hill working on teacher supplements for textbooks. Although his job is not only at Camden County College Gerry does exceed the fifteen contact hours the College defined as an adjunct.
Camden County College employs 154 full-time professors; a full time professor is a professor that exceeds fifteen contact hours with students. Full time professors are a part of a union, receive pension and receive full health benefits unlike adjunct professors. Full-time professor for fourteen years, Dr. Frank Mitchell has experienced life from both sides as an adjunct professor to full-time. Dr. Frank Mitchell was an adjunct professor for four years before he applied to be a full-time professor. “Being from both sides, I understand that it is a glaringly unjust system” Dr. Mitchell said. Dr. Mitchell stated that as an adjunct professor he made about $1,900 a course and now as a full-time professor he makes anywhere from $5,000 to $9,000 a course, with full benefits. The difference in pay is only defined by the title the college gives to them; both professors could have the same credentials although their job security, health benefits and salary is drastically different.
The transition for an adjunct professor to full-time professor is not an easy process. Adjunct professors applying for full-time positions are in a competitive environment, Dr. Mitchell said, “I remember I was competing with 127 people to get the position I was applying after I applied for 1,000 positions at different colleges.” There will always be both adjunct and full-time and always be competition for full-time positions professors at Camden County College but time will only tell if the system will change.