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schencka
comment on Inside Higher Ed: You are expendable

As an adjunct at a few for-profit IHEs, I could have written a very similar piece. I agree on all counts: students at FPs merely want to learn; they are curious and focused; they're overcoming challenging life circumstances; they deserve caring instructors. Yes and more yes.

Then, at one of the FP colleges I was teaching at, a student who clearly could not write at all, let alone well, complained about how I gave her a "C" on a paper which was also a week late, to boot. "C" was the highest grade inflation I could stomach and still retain some self-respect, you see. The customer complained to the dean, who promptly demanded that I re-grade the paper. When I refused, I was told I was "unwilling to work with our student population" and told I was no longer welcome at that campus (obviously non-renewal for adjunct contracts makes firing people easier). This was after hours and hours of the kind of compassionate, thoughtful teaching that the author describes in the article.

Needless to say, this soured my take on the for-profit colleges' emphasis on "retention." Teaching for minimal pay so that stockholders get more government-backed student loan money makes me feel dirty, honestly, and I know personally just how contingent adjuncts' livelihoods are.
 
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