Gillian Mason was passionate about literature in college, so she made a career of it, earning a Ph.D. in American studies from Boston University. She had part-time teaching jobs on different campuses, but after 10 years as an adjunct she realized that she would never find a tenure-track job, or even one that paid a living wage.
“I was teaching five classes at three different campuses. I was quickly going broke and my student debt was still growing,” she said.
So Ms. Mason left teaching and became a higher-education organizer, part of a movement catching on across American campuses where adjunct faculty members, the working poor of academia, are turning to collective action.