Adjunct Walkout Day: February 25, 2015

Adjunct Walkout Day is on February 25, 2015. Sarah Kendzior offers a powerful explanation why everyone should care about the plight of adjuncts: “The plight of the adjunct shows one can have all the education in the world and still have no place in it.” Those of us who are tenured and tenure-track faculty should care in an even more immediate way, as the fate of the adjunct is intimately tied with the fate and shape of our own institutions. The issues for adjuncts teaching at law schools are somewhat different than for adjuncts in many fields, in part because the pool of adjuncts is different. Many, although not all, adjuncts at law schools are practicing attorneys, who teach a class because they enjoy it, not as an attempt to make a full-time living. This is a situation different from that of adjuncts in, for example, the humanities, who in many instances don’t have a full-time job apart from adjuncting and in some instances are trying to cobble together a living by teaching several classes as adjuncts.

I am former adjunct myself. Between 2008 and 2010 I taught several classes at American University’s Washington College of Law. In part based on my own experience, I have a number of thoughts on the different ways that law schools can best incorporate adjuncts. While in my view there’s no one right way, one valuable way is by inviting adjuncts to team-teach classes with traditional doctrinal faculty. This is something I will be doing myself next semester, when I teach a Constitutional Litigation Practicum with Denver civil rights lawyer Qusair Mohamedbhai. In coming months I’ll blog about our co-teaching experience in conjunction with ideas about adjuncts more generally.

For now, I hope everyone — particularly my fellow tenured and tenure-track faculty — will mark their calendars for February 25, 2015.