Codey & Jasey Statement on Role of Adjunct Faculty at New Jersey’s Public Institutions of Higher Education

Legislature to Continue Examining Circumstances of Part-Time Instructors on College Campuses

Senator Richard J. Codey and Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey issued the following statements Thursday after an Assembly Higher Education Committee hearing on the role of adjunct faculty at public colleges and universities in New Jersey:

Sen. Codey (D-Essex/Morris):
“Adjunct instructors make up half of the faculty at some New Jersey institutions of higher education, but they get no benefits, receive no pension and have no rights. That’s not fair to the adjuncts, nor is it conducive to learning for the students. When their instructors must focus on multiple part-time positions at a time, rushing from school to school each day to make ends meet, it’s hard for students to receive the full attention they deserve – and pay for.

“While there is a place for part-time instructors, some of whom may, for example, garner professional experience at a full-time job during the day and bring that valuable experience to the classroom at night, the overreliance on adjunct faculty demeans higher education in New Jersey. It’s not about what’s right for students, but rather what’s cheaper for the institution. This clearly is an area that requires improvement in our state.”

Asw. Jasey (D-Essex/Morris), Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair:

“The state of adjunct faculty in New Jersey results in a lose-lose situation for both students and instructors. Even the most knowledgeable, most well-intentioned adjunct has to deal with circumstances that make it difficult to give students the complete level of commitment that a quality education requires. Adjunct faculty members, who do not have offices on campus, have to meet students in coffee shops and campus centers for ‘office’ hours. Furthermore, because they do not have tenure, adjuncts must exercise extreme caution about pushing boundaries and exploring new ideas in the classroom, which deviates from the fundamental mission of an academic community.

“Students cannot receive a first-rate college education if their classroom instruction rests primarily on the shoulders of part-time faculty members. While adjuncts bring value to campuses across New Jersey and ought to be respected and compensated accordingly, we cannot expect part-time instructors to provide a full college experience.

“I look forward to further hearings as this committee works to reform higher education in this regard.”