Imagine a community college system where most of the professors earn less in a year than the maintenance staff. Imagine a community college system that responded to a state cut in funding by giving its administrators huge pay increases.
Welcome to the Community College System of New Hampshire.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the teachers at New Hampshire’s community colleges are the lowest-paid faculty in New England, and among the lowest in the whole country. According to CCSNH records, 77 percent – well over 1,000 people – of the system’s faculty are adjunct professors. Most of these adjuncts barely earn a living wage.
I am an adjunct English professor at NHTI in Concord. Adjuncts are hired one semester at a time to teach specific courses. We receive no pension, no health care, no benefits and have zero job security. We often receive our teaching contracts only a few days before the semester begins. We don’t have offices, so our students have a hard time connecting with us outside of class.
Although we have advanced degrees, we can teach a full load of college courses and make less than $20,000 a year. We teach the lion’s share of the courses; without us the state’s community college system could not function.