The Neoliberal-Commercialization of Faculty: The Rise of Adjunct Professors
The rising number of adjunct professors has had detrimental effects upon students in higher education. This study focuses upon universities, in accordance with neoliberal ideologies, becoming increasingly reliant upon adjunct professors rather than full time faculty. This reliance has had a very real impact upon the education a student can expect to receive. Students’ awareness and opinions of adjunct professors was a key facet of this study. The rise of adjunct faculty has created a changing dynamic of professor-student relationships. Students aware of their professors’ adjunct statuses found that, because those professors do not have the same job security that full time faculty, they are not able to foster the same kind of relationships with the adjuncts as they are with full time faculty. For instance, some students felt that, even though they felt a link with these professors, they were not able to have them as advisors or work on long term projects with them due to their job insecurity or even their relative lack of knowledge within the subject they are teaching compared to full time faculty. Nonetheless, students in many cases did not even realize that they had adjunct professors, or even what they are. Rather than showing an interchangeability of adjuncts and full time faculty, however, they generally had a “commodified” attitude about higher education; speaking to how the prevalence of adjuncts has helped inculcate neoliberal ideas about the commercialization of education. Through qualitative interviews with university students, this study has allowed insight into the broader picture of neoliberalism at Boise State University. It seeks to open students’ eyes (especially in this area where it is accepted as normal) to the detrimental effects that neoliberal ideology has had upon higher education. It adds to the current knowledge of this topic in higher education, but also opens doors for further exploration into the neoliberal issues at this university in specific.