Facts & Figures

Increasing numbers:

  • Nonprofit universities in the Los Angeles Metro Area market rely heavily on a contingent acedemic workforce; in 2013, 72% percent of faculty, or 11, 841 employees, were not on the tenure track. (i)
  • In 1969, tenured and tenure-track positions made up approximately 78.3% of the faculty. In 2009, tenured and tenure-track faculty had declined to 33.5% and 66.5% of faculty were ineligible for tenure.
  • This contingent academic workforce in the LA Metro Area’s universities is frequently working on a part-time basis. In 2013, 58.4% percent of employees with faculty status, or 6,917 employees, are part-time. (ii)
  • Nationally, the numbers of part-time faculty members has increased at almost three times the rate of full-time faculty in the last 15 years. Between 1995 and 2011 the number of part-time faculty doubled.
  • 54% of contingent faculty teach in more than one institution; 29% teach in two institutions.
  • This contingent academic workforce in the LA Metro Area’s universities is frequently working on a part-time basis. In 2013 58.4% percent of employees with faculty status, or 6,917 employees, are part-time. (iii)

Pay and Benefits:

  • The median pay per course in the Far-West–the area of the country where Los Angeles and Orange Country are located–was $3,300 for master’s level institutions and $4,500 for doctoral level institutions at private not-for-profit institutions (iv). This means an adjunct teaching full-time may have an annual income of just $19800.
  • Seventy-nine percent of adjuncts do not get health insurance at their college and 86% did not receive retirement benefits or the opportunity to buy into a group retirement plan (Chronicle of Higher Education: Adjunct Project).
  • Thirty-eight percent of faculty are paid below $455 per week, the minimum salary that almost all professional employees must receive to be deemed exempt under the current Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations, according to a November 2014 Report by SEIU/Adjunct Action.
  • Some California adjuncts are still exempted form basic federal safety nets. The Fair Labour Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay employees minimum wave (v) and time and a half for all hours worked for 40 hours in one week. (vi) The FLSA also protects salary-paid workers, including professionals who earn low pay. (vii) While some state laws cover teachers like contingent faculty who earn low pay for long hours, the FLSA regulations exclude teaching faculty from its protections. (viii)Under California law, faculty who teach at an accredited college or university are exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements but only if he or she earns a monthly salary that is equivalent to no less than two times the minimum wage for full-time employment (ix). The California minimum wage is currently $9/hour (x), which equates to $1,440/mo. In other words, California contingent faculty who earn more thatn $2,880 per month are exempted from basic protections for working people, such as minimum wage and paid overtime.

Barriers to professional development and effective teaching:

  • According to an August 2012 Survey by the Center for the Future for Higher Education (CFHE), prep time for courses taught by contingent faculty is often minimal; two-thirds of faculty reported receiving three weeks or less notice to prepare for class assignments.
  • In the same survey, 94% of respondents said they received no departmental or university orientation, despite the fact that half were new to the campuses where they were teaching (Center for the Future for Higher Education, “Who is Professor ‘Staff’?”)
  • Access to university services is often limited: 47% received copying services less than two weeks before classes started and 45% gained library privileges two weeks before the start of class. Twenty-one percent never received any curriculum guidelines or access to office space (Center for the Future for Higher Education, “Who is Professor ‘Staff’?”)



(i) Author analysis on file. Original source: “Fall 2013, Institutional Characteristics component, Human Resources, Total employees (EAP2013 All staff. Not on Tenure Track/No Tenure system), CBSA 31080 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim.” U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems *IPEDS), accessed December 18, 2014. http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/Default.aspx

(ii) ibid.

(iii) ibid.

(iv) John Curtis and Saranna Thornton, “Here’s the News: The annual Report on the Economjic Status of the Profession, 2012-2013,” American Association of University Professors, accessed January 9, 2015, http://www.aaup.org/file/2012-13Economic-Status-Report.pdf.

(v) 29 U.S.C. § 206 (2007).

(vi) 29 U.S.C. § 207 (2010).

(vii) 29 C.F.R. § 541.300 (2004).

(viii) 29 C.F.R. § 541.303 (2004).

(ix) See 8 Cal. Code Regs. §§ 11040 (1)(A)(3); IWC Wage Order 4-2001. See also Kettenring v. Los Angeles Unified Sch. Dist., 167 Cal. App. 4th 507, 513 (2008).

(x) U.S. Department of Labor, “California Minimum Wage Rates,” http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm#California

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