Phillip W. Magness

U.S. Economic & Political History

On Madjunct Activists and Article Paywalls

| September 21, 2016

Jason Brennan and I recently published an article investigating the common claim that adjuncts are “exploited.” We use a combination of empirical evidence and ethical investigation into the use of this term, and conclude that the claim does not withstand scrutiny. The article was published in the Journal of Business Ethics and is now available on […]

AAUP report confirms: ‘Adjunct Justice’ is a costly proposition

| April 11, 2016

The American Association of University Professors just released its 2015-16 report on the Economic Status of the Profession. As with previous reports, the employment status and wages of adjuncts are a central theme. The report’s authors express alarm at what they allege to be the mass “adjunctification” of U.S. higher ed, even though their actual figures […]

Do Adjuncts and Full Time Faculty have similar work loads?

| March 28, 2016

Historically, adjunct faculty positions emerged as a part time job. The most common example of this practice was designed to allow working professionals to take on a class or two in a university setting. Students benefited from moonlighting instructors who were also practitioners with experience in relevant fields, or perhaps even faculty from different departments or […]

Arguing Adjunct Justice, Part II

| March 26, 2016

The fun continues with the adjunct activist crowd in the wake of my Journal of Business Ethics article with Jason Brennan (who has an interesting challenge up for all the “social justice” claimants on the other side of the issue). Unfortunately, most of the comments we’ve received continue to display little evidence of actually reading […]

An actual reader, but an underwhelming one

| March 24, 2016

A couple of people have sent me links to something called the “Philosophy Smoker,” which blogged a response to our adjunct article. I’ll give them the credit that they at least read the article before commenting on it, which is no small accomplishment given the scholarly mean of the madjunct world. That said, I found […]

Arguing Adjunct Justice

| March 21, 2016

My article with Jason Brennan on “Estimating the Cost of Justice for Adjuncts” caused a bit of a stir over the weekend after it was featured in several news stories. Many of the issues we raise are starting to be realized as universities grapple with the adjunct issue in earnest and a number of the more […]

Dear AAUP & Media: Non-Tenure Track does not equal Adjunct

| December 8, 2015

One of the most pervasive and pernicious myths of the adjunct activist movement is the claim that somewhere in the neighborhood of 75% of current university faculty are adjuncts. This figure derives from the frequently hapless, though sometimes intentional, conflation of terminology. Yet another example of this happened today in the Christian Science Monitor, which cited […]

Why are there so many adjuncts in English & Literature departments?

| November 3, 2015

Though regulated and at times highly distorted, academic employment is fundamentally a creature of market forces. Full time academic employment has actually kept pace with student enrollment growth since at least 1970, contrary to a number of myths that are often carelessly repeated in the press and by adjunct activists. Full time jobs are not disappearing under any […]

The Myth of the “Adjunctification” of Full-Time Faculty

| September 19, 2015

The recent and ongoing debate about the state of the U.S. academic workforce is, unfortunately, dominated by a number of aggressively asserted myths that have little basis in empirical evidence. In previous posts, I have debunked a number of these recurring claims including the “myth of the minimum wage adjunct” and the “myth of the 76% adjunct […]

Would you adjunct for $15,000 per class?

| September 10, 2015

$15,000 per class. That is the rallying cry of the adjunct activist movement as espoused by the SEIU and its “Faculty Forward” campaign. The figure derives from its parallels with the $15/hour minimum wage political campaign, although it has roots in another favorite adjunct activist fallacy: the Labor Theory of Value. According to this theory, […]