The Invisible Professor: The Precarious Lives of the New Faculty Majority

Edited by Natalie M. Dorfeld
Copy edited by Karen P. Peirce. Designed by Mike Palmquist.

CoverThis edited collection, the first in the Practices & Possibilities series to be published in its Voices from the Field section, offers a rich set of narratives by writing instructors who are serving or have worked in contingent positions. Intended for anyone considering a career in the humanities, The Invisible Professor seeks to reach individuals in three phases of their careers: those thinking of entering the profession, those knee-deep in it and looking for ways to improve conditions, and those who have vacated academic positions for more humane alternative tracks.

As academia comes to a crossroads, with a disheartening shift towards a more disposable business model, multiple solutions are desperately needed. Faculty members in contingent positions are the new faculty majority on college campuses, and they are most likely the first professors students will meet. They deserve respect and a livable wage.

Table of Contents

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Front Matter


Introduction. Hello, My Name Is Natalie, and I Am a Hypocrite, Natalie M. Dorfeld
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.1.3

Part I: The Struggle is Real/Academia’s Current Landscape

Chapter 1. The Shadow of the Adjunct, Michael Dubson
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.01

Chapter 2. From Tenure Track to Unemployment in Six Months, Jeff Dories
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.02

Chapter 3. Becoming Lystrosaurus: Toxic Environments, Mass Extinctions, and Other Cautionary Tales for Academics, Dustin Michael
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.03

Chapter 4. Adjunctivitis: The Plague of Academia, Marjorie Stewart
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.04

Chapter 5. Closing of My College Department and Swingline Factory, Constance H. Gemson
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.05

Part II: The Debilitating Effects of Disposability

Chapter 6. A Dark Night and a Brighter Day for Adjuncts, Maria Shine Stewart
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.06

Chapter 7. Statusism: How Adjunct Exploitation Isolates and Divides College Faculty, Christian L. Pyle
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.07

Chapter 8. Between a Rock and a Hard Place on a Deserted Island: Negotiated Mental Health on College Campuses Through the Lens of a Rebellious Adjunct Professor, Belle H. Foster
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.08

Chapter 9. Unheard Voices and Unseen Faces: The Experience of Adjuncts, Nooshan Ashtari and Pamela Minet-Lucid
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.09

Chapter 10. Ignorance Is Bliss, Ann Wiley
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.10

Part III: Knee-Deep in the Trenches/What Now?

Chapter 11. This is What Solidarity Looks Like: A Model of Thick Solidarity at the University of Illinois, Andrew Bowman, A. Kay Emmert, Shawn Gilmore, and Bruce Kovanen
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.11

Chapter 12. Where to Start? An Overview of the (Ab)use of Contingent/NTT Laborers and a Call for Radical Transparency to Assist the New Faculty Majority, Katie Rieger and Sarah Lonelodge
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.12

Chapter 13. "Ten ... Toil Where One Reposes": Stories of an Adjunct Faculty Organizer, Anne Balay
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.13

Chapter 14. Alternative to Nothing: Rejecting "Alt-Ac" Success Stories and Acknowledging Failure, Daniel S. Brown
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.14

Chapter 15. Reconsidering the Status of Contingency: Are These Really the Trenches?, Jennifer K. Johnson and Nicole Warwick
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.15

Chapter 16. From Being One to Hiring One: Both Sides of the Adjunct Phenomenon in Higher Education, Kimberly M. Miller and Joanna Whetstone
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.16

Chapter 17. Adjuncting without Anguish: A 21st Century Roadmap to Success for Contingent Faculty, Devan Bissonette
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.17

Part IV: Bye, Felicia

Chapter 18. Breaking Up with Higher Ed, Lee Kottner
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.18

Chapter 19. Where the Pipeline Ends: Teaching High School Equivalency in a Medium-Security Prison, Andrea Verschaeve and Jason Porath
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.19

Chapter 20. Contracting and Consulting: Crafting a Career, Ian S. Ray and Brandi Wren
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.20

Chapter 21. After Adjuncting: Questioning Academia’s "Big Club", Steven Yates
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.21

Chapter 22. We Are the University, Debra Leigh Scott
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.22

Chapter 23. Escape This Neoliberal Shit Show Now, BC Dickenson
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.2.23

Conclusion. Labor-Informed Graduate Education, Amy Lynch-Biniek
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589.3.1


About the Editor

Natalie M. Dorfeld earned a B.A. in philosophy, a B.S. in English with a specialization in writing, and an M.A. in English at Slippery Rock University. She also has a Ph.D. in English with emphasis on composition and TESOL at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is currently an associate professor of English at Florida Institute of Technology. Her research on contingent labor has featured in Forum: Issues about Part-Time and Contingent Faculty, CEAMAGazine: Journal of the College English Association Middle Atlantic Group, The Quint: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly from the North, Reflections: A Journal of Community-Engaged Writing and Rhetoric, Inside Higher Ed, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. In her spare time, she paints, surfs, and rescues stray animals.

Publication Information: Dorfeld, Natalie M. (Ed.). (2022). The Invisible Professor: The Precarious Lives of the New Faculty Majority. The WAC Clearinghouse; University Press of Colorado.

ISBN: 978-1-64215-158-9 (PDF) | 978-1-64215-159-6 (ePub) | 978-1-64642-380-4 (pbk.)
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1589

Digital Publication Date: July 1, 2022
Print Publication Date: May 2023

Contact Information:
Natalie M. Dorfeld:

Practices & Possibilities

Series Editors: Aimee McClure, Clarke University, Mike Palmquist, Colorado State University, and Aleashia Walton, University of Cincinnati
Associate Editor: Jagadish Paudel, University of Texas at El Paso

Acrobat Reader DownloadThis book is available in whole and in part in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF). It is also available in a low-cost print edition from our publishing partner, the University Press of Colorado.

Copyright © 2022 Natalie M. Dorfeld and the authors of individual parts of the book. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License. 240 pages, with notes and bibliographies. This book is available in print from University Press of Colorado as well as from any online or brick-and-mortar bookstore. Available in PDF and ePub formats for no charge on this page at the WAC Clearinghouse. You may view this book. You may print personal copies of this book. You may link to this page. You may not reproduce this book on another website.