This column on adjunct’s feelings of being disrespected is amazingly stupid. It makes sense that disrespect — a daily lived experience — would be more vividly felt than an abstract category like “underemployment.” But the respect issue can’t be fixed separately from the underemployment issue. They feel — and are — disrespected because of their employment situation. They are temporary, disposable workers who can be fired at any time. The university has utterly no stake in them in the long term.
Giving adjuncts little tokens like development grants or teaching awards is no solution — in fact, it could be perceived as patronizing. And even in the best case, it’s treating the symptom instead of the disease. Respect and status flow from actual power. If you want adjuncts to be more respected, give them more power by giving them full-time stable jobs that allow them to shape the institutions they work for. It’s fucking simple.