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June 10, 2008

Adjunct-ion Junction

While working on another project, I happened to notice the percentage of classes taught by adjuncts at some law schools.  In a few cases, it may be that a majority of the classes offered are taught by adjuncts.  As one might expect, those schools that rely the most on adjuncts are more likely to be "regional" rather than "national" schools (terms I use to describe their ambition-- regional schools usually explicitly seek to serve their state or region, while national schools boast about the wide geographic placement of their graduates). 

The irony in this is that it is the regional schools are usually the ones more likely to promote an emphasis on teaching over scholarship.  Certainly, some adjuncts are excellent teachers, but quality control is hard with part-timers, and sometimes it is questionable if any quality control (other than student evaluations) is being done.  Like any other profession, I would suspect that people who are full-time professors are generally best at the task of professing.  Thus, the schools which emphasize scholarship may, in this regard, have an edge when it comes to teaching.

-- Mark Osler

June 10, 2008 | Permalink

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