College Attacked After Posting A Professor Job Without Pay

A University has drawn harsh criticism for posting an adjunct professor job that required a Ph.D. but doesn't pay.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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adjunct professor

Imagine applying for a job that didn’t pay. Now imagine applying for a job that not only didn’t pay you but required you to act as a professor in a lecture hall with upwards of 50-100 students. It isn’t unusual to find colleges across the nation employing adjunct professors, but what is unusual is the idea not to pay them for that work. This is exactly what happened at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) recently regarding an adjunct professor job, and people are outraged.

Inside Higher Ed recently reported that UCLA posted a job listing to their recruitment site for an assistant adjunct professor position. The listing has since been taken down, but the news site reported that the university was seeking the position for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. They stated that the recruitment specifically listed the position as “without salary basis”. They iterated the notion again at the end once again stating “Applicants must understand there will be no compensation for this position.”

The job listing for the adjunct professor received a lot of attention and anger. Since taking the job posting down, UCLA issued an apology saying that the listing contained errors. In the statement to EdSource,  the school said they always offer compensation in regards to formal classroom teachings. They ended the statement by saying they would edit the job listing to read correctly before posting. To note, the job listing has yet to be put back up. 

adjunct professor

UCLA’s apology for the post only seems to have rattled people more. The fact that they are acting as if the job was posted without pay incorrectly when it clearly repeated that the job was without pay multiple times in the listing is something not sitting well with some. However, it should be noted that the recruitment site may not have known pertinent details and quite simply may have accidentally added in the no-pay sentiments. 

But one thing the college has tried to shed light on in an attempt to smooth things over is a common practice that schools and companies across the world often participate in: internships. But if the university wanted this job to be an unpaid internship, they probably shouldn’t have required applicants to already have a Ph.D. and a strong record of teaching chemistry at the college level. No matter how much they tried to skirt around the issue, the concern regarding the job was that it should have been posted as an adjunct professor position, which should be paid.

As the news went viral on Twitter, many outraged users like Megan Shephard, also an assistant adjunct professor, drew criticism towards UCLA.  A history professor at Virginia Commonwealth University also brought attention to the story, asking Twitter if it was a joke. Kurt Eichenwald, a New York Times bestselling author called it slavery as he asked Twitter to look at this and ask why millennials are always so angry at everything.

Adjunct professors make up a large population of teachers educating college students in America. And as the problem persists with the title accompanying low pay standards, the job title has recently been given a new moniker: the Uber drivers of academia. Furthermore, adjunct professors receive lower compensation, few to no benefits, and little to no job security. And while it’s great to see that more attention is being given to this issue, universities like UCLA likely have a large hill to climb as more people sound the alarm advocating better pay for adjunct professors.