Friday, June 03, 2005

Back to the Land?

A new correspondent mentioned, in passing, that his college has employed relatively few adjuncts (even though the provost wanted to go more in that direction) because it’s rural. The available pool of adjuncts is thin, so the only way to cover classes reliably is with full-timers.

Gotta admit, I never thought of that. It makes perfect sense.

Some ed.d. student out there could do a nifty dissertation on the relationship between adjunct-ification and geography. Once you leave the urban and affluent suburban regions, does the adjunct trend dissipate?

The two schools I’ve deaned at have both been in affluent, educated suburbia, so there has been no shortage of willing and capable adjuncts. (Educated trailing spouses of high-earning execs make great adjuncts and lab assistants.) Certainly I’d expect no major difficulties finding adjuncts in major cities, either. But in cow country? Hmm.

I wonder if, ironically enough, the vast swath of Red America is actually less hospitable to this particular version of outsourcing than educated, densely populated Blue America. That would certainly help explain the preponderance of “Help! My Job is in the Middle of Nowhere!” blogs and letters in the Chronicle.

Thanks, new correspondent. I never thought of that. Suburban blindness strikes again…