As you’ve probably already heard, Dan Fincke has moved Camels With Hammers to Patheos. He didn’t do it because of strife here. I know I’ve disagreed with him as much as anyone, but always with the hope of getting through and helping him change his mind in areas where I thought he wasn’t looking at a whole picture. We’ll miss Dan around here.
Moving to Patheos will get Dan a boost in pay. It will also put him more in the way of believers, which fits his approach better than many people’s, but it’s the pay that’s important. It really, really shouldn’t be, but it is. Why?
Last school year I taught 17 sections of college classes across six universities in three states as an adjunct professor just to make ends meet in New York City and deal with my student loan debt and accumulated credit card debt from when I was living at subsistence level as a graduate student for a decade.
Adjunct professors like me are drastically underpaid for our levels of qualification, years of schooling, classroom experience, and years of committed service to our institutions and to our students. By the end of this semester I will have taught 82 classes at the University level over the span of ten years, including during 7 years while I was also writing my dissertation. I have a Teaching Fellow of the Year award, excellent student evaluations and faculty evaluations, and numerous schools willing to hire me semester after semester year after year. Though my PhD is from Fordham University, my dissertation on Nietzsche’s ethics was written with John Richardson of New York University, one of the most elite scholars of Nietzsche teaching at one of the highest ranked philosophy programs in the country, as a reader on my committee.
Yet I only make between $3,600-$4,200 per section depending on the school and, until possibly this semester, have had no health benefits through my employers. One school paid me less than $3,000 for a section even after I had served there for several years and had attained to my PhD. Meanwhile many of these schools charge students at a rate of over $3,000 per section, which means that out of the 25-35 students in my classroom typically only one or two pays my salary for the semester.
I was already plenty sad to be seeing Dan go. It’s just galling to know that it’s happening because someone who is teaching, with that full a course load, has to choose a place to blog that pays well. Splitting these jobs up doesn’t make them any more cheaply done. Quite the opposite.
Yes, we have funding problems with education. They are fixable if our governments are willing to fix them. Either way, whatever we do, it’s time to stop balancing our budgets on the backs of labor. It’s the shortest of short-term solutions that is grossly unfair to the people involved.
Go show Dan some love at his new home, would you? Tell him you’re glad to see him settling in. Pick up a link or two to share with the theists who keep making the same silly arguments over and over again. See him get paid a little better for at least part of the work he does.
He’s earned it.