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University’s Job Posting Requests ‘Volunteer’ Professors

Tulane University
Tulane University. (Photo: Tulane Public Relations)

“I would 100% be on board if it was a mentoring position, that makes sense. But asking your alumni to usurp your adjunct faculty and teach actual classes for no pay, Because Giving Back, is like an SNL skit of higher ed.”

Earlier in the week, Tulane University (New Orleans, Louisiana) posted a job offer which raised eyebrows. The University posted that they were in search of Adjunct Faculty, but were indeed looking to hire someone on a volunteer basis. The original job posting can be seen below.


After several days of backlash, Tulane removed the listing from their website and closed down the application process on job boards.

Inside The Role Of Adjunct Faculty

A 2015 blog entry from Concordia University – Portland details the job responsibilities of Adjunct Faculty in a university setting. “Adjuncts may teach a course in a face-to-face setting one term, and then the next term they may teach the same course in a distance education environment using a learning management system (LMS). If you have attended an online graduate program or have worked in that environment already, then you bring additional knowledge and experience to the table.”

“When discussing adjunct faculty positions, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the position’s responsibilities since it can vary. Many of the duties expected of tenure-track professors are not required by adjuncts. Contingent faculty do not have to conduct research, publish papers, or attend staff meetings and events,” the explanation continues.

According to Law School Transparency, law students must pay $56,572 year to attend the Tulane program. Additionally, the yearly living expenses in New Orleans are estimated to be $23,196 per year.

While Tulane is a private institution, university faculty is typically paid for their work, especially when tuition is a burden for middle and working class students.  Zip Recruiter details the pay structure in Louisiana for Adjunct Faculty in the state of Louisiana.

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $105,504 and as low as $11,828, the majority of Adjunct Faculty salaries currently range between $39,268 (25th percentile) to $80,429 (75th percentile) in Louisiana. The average pay range for an Adjunct Faculty varies modestly (up to $41,161), which suggests there may be fewer opportunities for advancement based on skill level, but increased pay based on location and years of experience is still possible.

Based on recent job postings on ZipRecruiter, the Adjunct Faculty job market in both Louisiana and the surrounding area is very active. Louisiana ranks number 25 out of 50 states nationwide for Adjunct Faculty salaries.

Tulane Comments On Job Listing

“For these positions, law schools seek well-established or retired attorneys, judges and industry leaders who assume a mentoring role by teaching small groups of students in specialized areas of law in which the volunteers have demonstrated, long-term expertise and leadership.” Michael Strecker, Tulane spokesperson said to Inside Higher Ed through email. “…these volunteers are alumni who view their services as a way of giving back to the school and current students.”

The explanation did not sit well with readers on the website, one of the highest up-voted statements reading.

The Parkland students have taught me an important lesson–to cry bullsh!t when I see it. Tulane’s rationalization is bs. You can bring in unpaid experts for a workshop or a lecture, not as faculty to teach a course. Shame on Tulane for its attempt at exploitation.

Dr. Betsy Smith/Retired Adjunct Professor of ESL/Cape Cod Community College

Inside Higher Ed didn’t seem to ask follow up questions about how such a system would freeze out numerous qualified individuals from being able to fill such highly skilled volunteer positions. Nor did they ask for Strecker to provide examples of other universities who ask Adjunct Faculty to work on a volunteer basis.

Several other commenters on the article provide similar concerns.

“I would 100% be on board if it was a mentoring position, that makes sense. But asking your alumni to usurp your adjunct faculty and teach actual classes for no pay, Because Giving Back, is like an SNL skit of higher ed.”

“It’s still not acceptable for Tulane to have alumni and respected professionals in the field provide free teaching as a form of charity work to the privileged as it undermines the market for all adjunct professors and sets bad precedents.”

“As profroguerouge [username of previous commenter] points out, adjuncts are providing charity work. The beneficiaries of the charity are the well-paid administrators, who would not have jobs and benefits without the free labor provided by adjuncts. All adjuncts provide charity to the privileged few. Many institutions are dependent on the free labor of adjuncts. Even if compensated, the amount of compensation is far less than the labor provided. The free labor of adjuncts is charity. Administrators are charity recipients.”

Walter Yeates

Walter Yeates is a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter who embedded at Standing Rock with military Veterans and First People in December 2016. He covers a range of topics at Citizen Truth and is open for tips and suggestions. Twitter: www.twitter.com/GentlemansHall or www.twitter.com/SmoothJourno Muckrack: https://muckrack.com/walteryeates

1 Comment

  1. Steven J Toce July 10, 2019

    It seems to me that allowing qualified faculty to teach as volunteers would be in the best interest of students, parents and taxpayers. Seeing students “get” the magic of multivariable calculus spaces is reward enough for me.


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