Broward College Adjunct Professors Make Maximum $16,000 a Year; They Are Now Unionizing, May Strike

president_armstrong.jpg
Armstrong

Broward College administration must be brought to account for paying starvation wages to its faculty.

I have taught American government and American history, primarily at Broward College, as an adjunct professor since 2004. Due to unannounced circumstances this semester, and as has been done many times to me in the past, my income was cut in half this term due to arbitrary scheduling of professors at the various campuses. Having been assigned a half load means I earn roughly $200 per week, as opposed to the normal $400 per week I make when I teach a full load. Either way, this is a travesty.

Even when teaching the maximum load of four classes per term, an adjunct can at most make $16,000 per year teaching both the fall and spring terms (the normal full year for full-time professors). This is half of the median income in Broward County.

But the few instructors deemed "full professor" make roughly three times that amount, and receive benefits, simply for teaching one more class and holding office hours. Like many colleges and universities throughout the country, Broward College continues to use adjuncts to provide most of the instruction for students. About 63 percent of the college's teaching staff is made up of adjuncts.

I have been living under poverty conditions for the past ten years. Poverty has been imposed on the adjunct faculty by college administration and, indirectly, by the board of trustees. It is a never-ending struggle to earn enough money to cover my basic living needs. God forbid my car break down, because I had to do everything I could simply to scrounge up the $1,500 to buy it used.

During down terms, when classes dry up, I have to take on the unbelievably frustrating task of simply attempting to navigate the welfare system, trying to get food stamps, and on and on. This is the life we live. Or rather, it is the life that has been imposed upon us by other people, namely, the college administration under President J. David Armstrong.

Armstrong's online bio states that "During the most challenging state budget reductions in the College's history, President Armstrong has managed to balance the budget through efficiencies..." These efficiencies include paying his staff poverty wages. Published reports indicate that as of last year, Armstrong's salary was $454,900. The discrepancy is obscene. But the blame is not limited simply to him but to all who stood by and allowed it to happen.

This gulf between managers and front-line staff is, by any ethical standard, a collective abusive relationship between one group of people against another. And like any type of bullying, it is facilitated not simply by the bullies but by those who stand idly by and have allowed it to happen -- and grow worse -- year after year. These people in positions of power and authority know who they are, and I do not need to name them.

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36 comments
chriss0608
chriss0608

This professor holds a "C+" rating on ratemyprofessor.com.  Perhaps he should focus on making his classes better first.  Then maybe a better position will follow.  I realize not every college is going to pay all the staff there big bucks (and that goes in every corporation too), but if I weren't making what I feel is right then wouldn't I owe it to myself and my family to look everywhere (there are 50 stats in the US you know) to find the best paying position that I can flourish in?

icculus17
icculus17 topcommenter

how can a college be accredited when classes are not being taught by professors?

ambulance151
ambulance151

This is unacceptable and just as bad as BSO wanting a budget increase while the general counsel who sits behind a desk all day making $205,000 a year while road deputies are out getting shot at and driving in cars that are under maintained making roughly $50,000 a year! Why is the president of Broward College making over $400,000 to sit behind a desk while professors are working endless hours to educate our youth to make them successful and carry out civic duties required to boost and maintain our economy. Then the fact that he will take all the credit for being such a successful college, because of the professors not him or the trustees! Unacceptable and ridiculous!

alagala924
alagala924

Great article! With the saturated state of the "college institution," you would think this would get unbelievable amounts of support, as it affects us all greatly.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

Feel free to get a job somewhere else.  If you want to make 80k per year become an electrician or plumber.

professorrf
professorrf

The Florida state college system is the lowest paying, most abusive, and corrupt state college system of higher education in the United States.

The civil rights movement of skilled education workers reduced to poverty has begun in Florida. Look at Indian River State College.

The rest of the old slave states or right to fire states now will hear from those educated workers who have been sold debt and a minimum wage.

All Florida adjuncts and all those across the United States would be justified in a general strike for full-time jobs at a living wage.

More on restoring America's economic vitality with full-time jobs and public trust here on my blog spot at The Nation:

http://nationbuilders.thenation.com/profiles/blog/list?user=37r4zugnw4gtp

rcbatp
rcbatp

29% for instruction within an institution that is 100% about learning. Bravo.

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@chriss0608I respect differing viewpoints. However, I am always skeptical of someone who chooses to publicly display their ignorance of the correct usage of “there” and “their”. And ratemyproffesor.com, as reliable a source as it is, gives Broward College as a whole a C+ (3.86 out of 5).In fact, Evan Rowe rates slightly higher (3.94 out of 5) than the university as a whole – which includes the university’s tenured full time professors. So again this forum has been infected with someone making an attack armed with nothing more than empty off-topic assertions. Nowhere in the article does the author claim that he deserves a better position. Nor does he claim that every college, or corporation for that matter, should “pay all the staff there [sic] big bucks”. Further, chriss0608, you make the assumption that Rowe hasn’t already looked everywhere (in all 50 “stats [sic]” in the U.S. you know) to find the best paying position that he can flourish in. You can’t know that he hasn’t already done so. So why bring it up unless you are deliberately attempting to confuse and mislead us from the issue at hand? Further, it’s off-topic. The point of this article is to publicize the exploitation of Broward College’s adjunct professors and to educate the community and Broward College students on what their money is being spent on. The president of Broward College is paid more than 25 times the amount that the professors who teach more than 60% of the classes are paid. Who knows how much money is disproportionately allocated to the rest of the administration?

Again, I respect differing viewpoints. But you trolls (and it’s what makes you, by definition, a troll) continue to attack the article and its author without actually expressing a differing viewpoint – or any viewpoint at all for that matter. So once again we have a troll - A troll is a person who sows discord by posting off-topic messages with the deliberate intent of disrupting normal on-topic discussion.We’re on to you. With love and understanding we accept your apology. If you are a good man and true you will make a valuable contribution to this discussion or make no contribution at all.

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@icculus17 They ARE being taught by professors. But the money they are paying to be taught by those professors is going somewhere else.

barbara4512002
barbara4512002

@whateveryousay yeah, who needs teachers anyway. Let the US become a third world country of illiterate bumpkins (no offense to the third world meant)

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@whateveryousay Plumbers and electricians make between 30k-50k on average. The number in proposed in the article was 32k. Feel free to take your head out of your trolling buttocks.

alagala924
alagala924

@whateveryousay  Honestly, this response is a huge part of the problem. And, I have to wonder, if you are actually stupid enough to believe what you say; or, if your life is so boring that internet trolling is your contribution to a serious debate such as this.

chriss0608
chriss0608

@WwwwEEEE... @chriss0608 No, you actually don't respect viewpoints that don't line up with your own.  That's your right.  To be honest, if the evaluations of a professor by the very people that PAY for classes expecting to be educated for the money they pay aren't that great, then does that person have a beef to complain about their pay?  Not really.  If I do mediocre work at my job, I really shouldn't be complaining about the pay.  I know no more about what this guy has/hasn't done than you do, so what's your point?  If you're tired of the salary disparity of college administrators, talk to your congressman.  Veiled threats to strike (when public employees can't), doesn't further the cause.  It widens the gulf.  Teaching is not really the lucrative position it may be thought of, and the debate on whether anyone who teaches should be paid X amount is one that can be debated until the end of time.  No one at BCC is being "exploited".  You know it.  I don't have a full accounting of where their dollars are spent, and neither do you.  I went there, and can say I had exemplary professors and utterly clueless ones.  If there is a direct link between pay and effort or morale, then let's see it. The author's demands in a public forum can undoubtedly not help his position. A professor's work value is most definitely on topic.  A personal attack isn't.  Big difference.  

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@WwwwEEEE... @whateveryousay  I'm sorry you don't seem to respect a different viewpoint.  People see things differently than you and that doesn't make them misinformed.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@alagala924 @whateveryousay  A huge part of the problem is that many people feel entitled to a career they want that they haven't had the ability to achieve.  It's a tough world out there.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@alagala924 @whateveryousay  I see the problem differently than you.  If someone wants to be an adjunct professor at this institution this is what it pays.  It seems that Armstrong feels entitled to earn higher wages for what amounts to a less than full time job. He may feel entitled to a full time job as well.  The difficulty professors have now is there are more of them than there are jobs available and that drives the wages down.  Just because someone earns a teaching credential doesn't guarantee them a full time or life time position as a teacher.  Many people have higher education degrees that lead to less than desirable employment.  The person who answers the phone at my office has a Masters in Anthropology and look how far that got them. They are quite bitter they are not teaching somewhere.  They have lamented many times that they are a scientist (debatable) and they deserve more.  Becoming a full time professor is an extremely competitive environment and not everybody will make the cut.       

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@chriss0608 @WwwwEEEE...  

The most respectful thing I can do is to be honest with you about the inadequacy of your argument and suggest constructive ways to repair your misguided attitude. If I were being disrespectful, I would allow you to continue embarrassing yourself in your habit of making fallacious assertions. Also, I think perhaps a visit to the dictionary is in order. Suggested terms include – disrespect, exploitation, lucrative, veiled.

In my previous post, I respectfully disagreed with your argument and proceeded to deconstruct it. But you are confusing disagreement with disrespect. Otherwise, please cite a specific instance where I disrespected you.

Allow me to better explain how you are off topic. Even if we take your premise, that ratemyprofessor.com is the one true authority on professor performance and only those professors who score high have a right to negotiate their pay; then we still have to face the fact that even the highest scoring adjunct professors can only make a maximum of $16,000 per year. The author of this article isn’t making the argument that he in specific deserves higher pay based on his performance. He is arguing that all adjunct professors deserve higher pay relative to their enormous role in the functioning of the college as a whole. The performance of the adjunct professors is not the issue. They provide over 60% of the instructional services offered at the college. The college receives federal and state funding to provide educational services for the community. The issue being raised is that a higher percentage of that funding and tuition fees should go to the people who are actually providing the services. The adjunct professors are a resource from which the college makes full use of and derives benefit without offering even the possibility of fair compensation. Meanwhile the president of the college makes over $450,000 per year. That is the definition of exploitation.

Broward College obviously thinks highly enough of the author’s performance to keep him on staff for the past ten years despite his ratemyprofessor.com grade. As I pointed out in my previous post, Rowe’s grade is slightly higher than the University as a whole.So perhaps his performance is not mediocre as you claim. Or perhaps his performance (and that of the entire adjunct faculty for that matter) would improve if they were incentivized with higher pay or even the possibility of higher pay. You claim that you shouldn’t complain about your pay when you do mediocre work. But what incentive would you have to do better work if the maximum you could be paid were still poverty level wages? No sane person thinks of teaching as a “lucrative” position. And nowhere in this article does the author claim it should be. So after you’re done looking up lucrative in the dictionary, consider the difference between lucrative and poverty. Then ask yourself if there is perhaps a middle ground; and if so, might that be less unfair.

“If you're tired of the salary disparity of college administrators, talk to your congressman.”Again – you assume the author hasn’t already exhausted every avenue even though the article clearly claims that he has done so.Also - the headline on the article is “Broward College Adjunct Professors Make Maximum $16,000 a Year; They Are Now Unionizing, May Strike”.Saying that you are unionizing and “may strike” in the headline of a newspaper may be a threat. But it’s hardly a veiled threat. Again – dictionary. More suggested terms – there, their, they’re 

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@whateveryousay @WwwwEEEE...A troll is a person who sows discord by posting off-topic messages with the deliberate intent of disrupting normal on-topic discussion. You have said you live in California. Yet you take the time to comment on an article in a Broward publication about a Broward school. (Californians may have a right to weigh in their opinion on the matter. But it arouses suspicion.) You make a comment with the false premise that the article’s author wants “to make 80k per year” when the article clearly states that their goal is to make 32k per year. What else could your intent be but to confuse the truth and disrupt constructive discussion? Additionally, your statement assumes a second false premise – that plumbers and electricians make 80k per year. Further, your statement is disrespectful to plumbers and electricians in its implicit assumption that the author can easily get a job as such – as if to say anyone can get a job as a plumber or electrician. Again, what could your intent be here other than that of a troll? You go on to spew more off-topic messages while assuming similar erroneous premises. “Just because someone earns a teaching credential doesn't guarantee them a full time or life time position as a teacher.” Nowhere in the article does the author suggest that he should be guaranteed a full-time position or a life-time position – he only argues that the wages for the job he has worked at for ten years are unfair and should be negotiated to a higher amount. Yet again, the premise for your argument has no basis in the discussion.

You say I’m calling people names because they disagree with me. I’m not calling people names. I called you a troll because your behavior matches the definition of a troll. That’s not calling people names. That’s a statement of fact. You say I disrespected you because you have a different viewpoint. I haven’t disrespected you or your viewpoint. In fact, you haven’t clearly expressed any real viewpoint for me to disrespect. It is you who have been disrespectful - you have disrespected the forum of constructive discourse with your trolling behavior. And I have called you out on it. I only do so out of respect for the truth and constructive discourse. You say I am hateful and call me a bully. But I have no hate for you; only love and concern for your misguided behavior. Don’t mistake my attempt to communicate clearly as bullying. Be honest with yourself and feel the love coming your way.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@WwwwEEEE... @whateveryousay  Why must you call people names if they disagree with you? Why must you be an intolerant bully?  I'm a troll because I don't agree with you?  You are a bully and need to accept that others have a differing point of view.  Please become enlightened and respect others.

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@whateveryousay @WwwwEEEE...I respect different viewpoints when they have a basis in reality and/or are genuinely intended to add some value to the conversation. Your comments could have no other intent but to confuse and mislead. You're a troll. I do not respect trolls.

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@whateveryousay @WwwwEEEE... That only illustrates my point. You site completely irrelevant information with the intention of misleading people and confusing the issue. What a plumber makes in California is in no way relevant in discussing the exploitation of Florida professors.

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@whateveryousay @WwwwEEEE...@alagala924Don't play the victim, troll. You were disingenuous. You introduced irrelevant information with the intent to mislead and confuse people. Your comments do not deserve respect. Hate has nothing to do with it.

anonymousa89096
anonymousa89096

@whateveryousay @alagala924

Dear whateveryousay, you comment here underscores the situation of increasingly non-degreed and degreed salaried working people in this country -- overall, they are increasingly over-worked and underpaid, and over-taxed relative to their income.  The reformed tax system in this country favors the top 20% to the point of obscenity. Look at our economy and talk to anyone who is not working on Wall Street as an investment banker or living off capital gains.  Welcome to the increasingly stratified post-modern U.S. economy of ever increasing numbers of part-time salaried employees, outsources industries, and oligarchs described by Simon Johnston, a respected economist at MIT. 


And as for adjunct instructors -- don't think for a minute that adjuncts aren't aware of what a temporary employee in a right to work state faces. Adjuncts learn pretty quickly what "less than undesirable employment" really means.  It means, these days, lack of any job security at all, no employer-sponsored healthcare, and a wage that hovers around the minimum, and often these days, a lot of debt, and being laid-off, driving miles everyday and working 50-60 hour work weeks and no guarantee of work beyond 3 months.   A lot of them are trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, over-degreed, not easily able to relocate to another part of the country, and merely survive month to month with the help of family and friends.

Please don't talk as if part-time adjuncts aren't aware of "competitive environments."  Read on about how higher education in this country has become corporatized and to run like businesses, which as Charles Snare has noted, does not serve the interest of civil society and the public.

Many part-timers instructors in actual fact are academically rigorous, excellent, innovative, employees, and in many cases and harder-working than many full-time professors counterparts who have "made the cut," and many are, frankly, due for retirement.  They of course, know what "competitiveness" just as part-timers do -- performance pay on student retention rates and graduation rates.  These full-timers professors, like their administrators, know themselves to be the top power-elite perched on top of a mass education system of academically adrift and under-prepared K-12 and adult students to be babysat in face to face or online courses with just-in-time contingent adjuncts. 

Let me end with this observation of the competitive environment that you refer to.  Both part-timer and those "made the cut" full-time professors work for administrators and presidents in PUBLIC community college and university institutions here in Florida making salaries that are becoming the envy of corporate executives in this country.  These administrators earn salaries, retirement/severance packages, housing allowances, etc. voted for these PUBLIC OFFICIAL administrators, of course, by their Boards of Trustees, and paid by we, the Florida taxpayers.  These administrators, these days, are little more than rationalizers engaged in public relations whitewashing of labor exploitation.  For the record, many have systematically intimidated and publically insulted and exploited their part-time employees, whom they view as little more than second-rate equivalents deserving of little or anything in the way of a sustainable, concrete living wage above the poverty level. Benefits and retirement, of course, are totally unthinkable for part-timers.  What these part-timers are mostly deserving of is to be nothing more than one of a cadre/pool/reserve of  transient knowledge workers who need to be grateful for every hour of work they are "assigned."  All of the administrators' efforts of course, aim to educate that student consumer whose number count/body/minority status, financial aid and tuition money are badly need for the institution's survival. But I digress. 


http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2012-11-03/story/wallace-isnt-only-state-college-president-lucrative-contract


http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/pbsc-cuts-staff-and-faculty-hours-to-avoid-paying-/nYJr2/

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