Map Methodology

The map makes use of crowd-sourced data on adjunct pay gathered by Joshua Boldt on the website in 2012. We located and mapped the school’s in Boldt’s survey by joining data in this Adjunct Project table to data on school location, type, and tuition in tables HD2012 and IC2012 from the U.S. Dept of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. These tables are available online at

The crowd-sourced data in Boldt’s table required some manipulation to be joined to the Dept. of Education’s table as a single dollar value per three credit hour, 15 week semester’s course. Some adjuncts reported pay in their institutions in a range based on length of time teaching, highest degree, or other variable. We used pay values for PhD holding adjuncts where possible. We used the average of the high and low values in reported ranges that differed based on seniority. We normalized pay data given for quarters or trimesters and/or other-than 3 credit hour courses by calculating equivalents based on 15 week, 3 credit courses. Where pay was reported per student, we assumed a class size of 25. Where multiple reports were given for adjunct pay at the same school, we took the average of these.

The figures for per-class tuition were arrived at by dividing the annual tuition by ten, under the assumption that a full load is five three-credit classes per semester (or ten per year).

Figures for the number of students it takes to pay an adjunct for teaching the class were arrived at by dividing the adjunct’s pay per class by the per-class tuition.

The figures for average full time salaries from the Dept. of Education was arrived at by dividing the “total salary outlays for full-time, non-medical, instructional staff” by the number of such staff. These staff members include people who conduct research as well as classroom instruction.

It should be noted too, that there are full-timers without tenure, and in rarer cases, adjuncts with some form of job security. Issues of low pay and precarity are intertwined in ways that vary among institutions.

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