Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Le Affair d'Adjunct Part Deaux

Boy were we pissed; existentially so.

First this professor was stealing not one but two of our classes. Bear in mind that this was money out of our pocket, about $5,000. Then the department head completely screwed up the resolution of the conflict and looked about for excuses to try to cover up his stunning ineptitude.

They screwed up, did they ever screw up. More than they understood.

We have written here before (just yesterday) about the plight of the adjunct. Low pay, no job security. We had colleagues teaching at three or four different colleges just to scratch out a minimal existence. The chair assumed that was us. In essence he bet we would just lie back and take it.

He made a bad bet.

Teaching was just a side gig for us. Getting paid was great, and there sure was principles involve in the struggle over my classes but really, we only taught because we enjoyed it. We didn't need the money and had no plans on going some place else. RVCC is three minutes from our house. We weren't commuting an hour, as some of our colleagues do, for this gig.

Needless to say, we were no longer enjoying the gig. So to hell with them. We resigned with three weeks left in the semester. Here's the letter:

Thank you again for calling. After our talk a few points that crossed my mind. First, Professor Reilly took a class from me. Then, a week before this semester began he took the class offered to me as compensation for loss of the first class. Do note I had written the syllabus and lesson plans for the coming class. Also, several students signed up for that class in the belief that I would teach it. When we met on this issue last September you told me I would be offered classes for the Spring-2015 semester. Your words were, 'I'll take care of you'. Second, after submitting my preferences for the Spring-2015 semester I waited and saw every class I had requested assigned to someone else. When I asked [redacted] about this she said I would need to meet with you and [redacted]. When you and I spoke about the upcoming meeting you indicated that there are concerns about the subject matter I teach, saying there is 'too narrow a focus' in my class and that I over emphasize military history. All this shows is that neither you nor [redacted] have actually looked at my syllabus, which assigns reviews of the Roman historian Plutarch, a review of another ancient historian, a review of a medieval historian, and epic poems about historical figures. I have been teaching this way for five years and it hasn't been a problem up till now. You yourself admitted that I should have been consulted about this weeks ago. Third, you said that after the meeting, assuming it went well, I would be offered a class for the Fall-2015 semester. Whether a bribe or a threat, that is unacceptable. Fourth, my student evaluations, comments and faculty observations speak for themselves, as does my vast publishing history, do note that  [includes]five novels and nearly 100 magazine articles. Lastly, please see my attached letter of resignation. Do note it is effective today, 11/21/14. 

Will Stroock​

Like we said, boy were we pissed.

Our resignation was like a surprise left hook, it left the department high and dry and scrambling.

The department chair called us and starting going on about fairness to students and some such. We replied by asking him about all the students who signed up for not one but two of our classes expecting us to teach them.

We'd like to make something clear. Our resignation was not a negotiating ploy. We were finished with them. When the chair said, 'Something can be worked out' we were stunned. 

He caved.

Something was worked out, and we taught two classes in the spring of 2015.

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