Up adjunct pay, Mr. McRobbie

December 3, 2011

An open letter to Indiana University President Michael McRobbie:

We are writing to you as members of the Associate Faculty Coalition at IUPUI, and as part-time instructors and supporters of part-time instructors at IUPUI. In the two years since the AFC’s formation, we have been working for more equity in the work place. Although we have made some gains—a small raise for the first time in years, access to limited professional development funds—deep disparities still exist among faculty in the Indiana University system.

Associate faculty on the IU Bloomington campus earn substantially more than their counterparts at IUPUI—in some cases, nearly twice as much. This situation sets a double standard. We have been asking for a higher wage since the inception of the Coalition, yet few have seen any substantial gains. Associate faculty are exploited everywhere, but our question is why we are more exploited in Indianapolis than in Bloomington. No reasonable explanations have been offered for this glaring inequity. If an associate faculty member is qualified to teach introductory courses on either campus, location should not be the determining factor in compensation rates.

At the State of the University address in September, you announced that IUPUI received over $1 billion in donations. Associate faculty, poorly paid and repeatedly denied access to work place health benefits, have no indication we’ll benefit from this pool of money.

In addition, last year you announced raises for full-time faculty despite the difficult economic times, and according to IU’s Financial Management Services, you received a 22-percent raise of nearly $100,000. If the IU system wants to be regarded as a first-class institution in the academic community, it must reflect pride in its faculty. All of its faculty.

In the ongoing campaign to boost student retention, it’s worth noting that associate faculty teach the majority of mandatory core courses for freshmen and sophomores. However, we receive little incentive for continuing education and rarely are compensated for attending workshops and other professional development initiatives. Many associate faculty members work two and three jobs to make ends meet. If it means missing another job or paying a babysitter to attend uncompensated workshops, it simply can’t happen.

Employee disparity poisons the work environment and breeds resentment for the corporate culture responsible for a discriminatory institution. The AFC has raised awareness through Teach-Ins, documentary videos and advocacy. Local and national media have shown an interest in this issue, and it won’t go away on its own. We ask that you find within that billion dollars a wage increase and additional professional development funds for IUPUI associate faculty. At the very least, we ask to be paid like our counterparts at IU Bloomington.


Steve Schubert; Terry Simmons; Sarah Layden; Jacob Nichols; Joshua Bernardin; Terry Daley; Tracy Donhardt; Steve Fox

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