French people

Reviews | Underpaid or unpaid faculty

For the editor:

Re “Help Wanted: Adjunct Professor, Must have Ph.D. Salary: $0” (news article, April 8):

The exploitation of adjunct professors is deeply unethical. Worse still, many doctorates in the humanities. the programs discourage students from exploring careers outside of academia. This is a problem because there are not enough college jobs for the many people applying.

After getting my Ph.D. in American studies, I worked as a professional (auxiliary) lecturer earning a few thousand dollars per semester in addition to working full time. Teaching on top of a full-time job was very demanding, but I can’t say it was exploitation. This arrangement has allowed me to tap into all the things I love about teaching without having to worry about paying the bills.

The solution is for universities to stop hiring adjuncts and create more full-time academic positions. In reality, this will not happen. Therefore, I would encourage more PhD graduates to explore careers in industry, government, and non-profit organizations. I am very fortunate to work for a non-profit organization that makes dense academic debate accessible and relevant to a wider audience.

And sometimes, when I have the time and the inclination, I can spend a semester teaching students those same skills.

Kimberley Probolus
Washington

For the editor:

As an academic, I’m not surprised to hear about the sheer exploitation of professors that occurs in colleges and universities, and it’s not limited to occasional professors. In fact, even professors who are hired for a tenure-track position and are tenured are severely underpaid considering their level of education.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the average faculty (assistant, associate, tenured) salary for the 2018-2019 academic year was $77,600, $91,876, and $136,767, respectively, for private four-year colleges. . For public colleges it was almost the same, and somewhat higher for research institutions.

Thus, we are far from what other highly qualified professionals (doctors, lawyers, etc.) or administrators of universities or colleges earn. Also, let’s not forget that by the time faculty members become full professors, they are often in their 40s.

Finally, the tenure system is heavily threatened by administrators as well as right-wing politicians. Professors have and will always continue to fight for good salaries and benefits and to protect their academic freedom.

Michel Hadjiargyrou
Centerport, NY
The author is a professor of biological and chemical sciences at the New York Institute of Technology.

For the editor:

The fundamental problem with the exploitation of adjunct professors is the overhiring of administrators. This bloat, which siphons off a substantial portion of a university’s budget, afflicts many campuses (public or private) across the country. When the bureaucratic apparatus of a university’s administration becomes increasingly overweight, it resorts to budget cuts at the expense of faculty and students.

Standardizing zero-salary teaching positions is nothing but an extreme and unconscionable way of robbing professors to pay administrators, some of whom occupy superfluous positions.

Dann Paane
Los Angeles

For the editor:

A beloved statistics professor at MIT Sloan School of Management likes to say that the Ph.D. student is someone who gives up current income in order to give up future income. Unfortunately, these humorous words of wisdom have never been so accurate.

Paul Greenberg
Brookline, Mass.

For the editor:

Regarding “Emmanuel Macron is playing a dangerous game”, by Didier Fassin (Guest opinion essay, nytimes.com, April 9):

Mr. Fassin accuses President Emmanuel Macron of having “widened inequalities, diminished the welfare state, weakened democracy” by “neoliberalism and authoritarianism”.

These are bold accusations. Especially since a real authoritarian – Vladimir Putin – is waging war against democracy at the gates of Europe. Especially since Mr. Macron faces Marine Le Pen, Kremlin apologist and putative ally, in the second round of the April 24 presidential election.

Under President Macron, France has resolved its decades-old trauma of mass unemployment. The unemployment rate is at its lowest since 2008. At the start of 2022, youth unemployment was at its lowest for 40 years. Its handling of the pandemic, both in public health and economic terms, has saved lives and livelihoods.

Of course, more needs to be done. France is divided and must rally behind an ambitious and optimistic vision: achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, fight discrimination and inequality at the root, improve social services and achieve full employment.

The most dangerous game of all would be to underestimate the fundamental existential differences between Mr Macron, a pro-EU liberal reformer, and Ms Le Pen, a far-right nationalist.

Roland Lescure
Paris
The writer is a member of the French National Assembly representing French citizens in North America and a spokesperson for President Macron’s party, La République en Marche.

For the editor:

Regarding “Yelp will pay for workers to travel for abortion access” (Business, April 13):

While it’s admirable that companies like Yelp step in to help their employees get out of state to get abortions when they’re employed in a state where abortions are restricted, that’s not an answer.

No employee should have to involve an employer in this decision. It’s a private decision that doesn’t need to be “tolerated” by a boss. A much better alternative is for companies not to do business in states where one of their employees is discriminated against, whether for abortion access or anything else.

Employers have a certain weight here. Use it.

Daphne Philipson
New York