Call for Book Chapter Proposals / The Invisible Professor: A Blueprint for Adjunct Faculty

deadline for submissions: 
April 1, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Natalie M. Dorfeld / Florida Institute of Technology
contact email: 

Call for Book Chapter Proposals / The Invisible Professor: A Blueprint for Adjunct Faculty

Let’s be honest for a moment.  Right now, higher education is a giant !@#$ show. 

1.  Enterprising graduate students are in limbo because of departmental cuts and new caps on M.A. and Ph.D. programs.   

2.  Adjuncts are being forced back into the classrooms, many lacking adequate insurance, while COVID-19 spreads like wildfire. 

3.  Chairs and deans are running around with their heads cut off due to projected enrollment and budget woes.  Some smaller institutions may be forced to close their iron gates forever.

According to the New Faculty Majority, 75.5% of college faculty are now off the tenure track.  This accounts for 1.3 million out of 1.8 million faculty members.  In that group, over 50% are adjunct (part-time). 

We need to do better.


The purpose of this edited collection is to reach faculty members in three phases of their careers: those thinking of entering the profession, those knee-deep in it and looking for ways to improve conditions, and those who vacated academic positions for more humane alternative tracks.       

Abstracts for potential book chapters may include (but are not limited to) three main areas: 

Part I: The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions (Current Academic Landscape)

*  Hiring freezes

*  Campuses closing

*  Restructuring of PA State System of Higher Education

*  Tenure tracks shrinking (75% vs. 25% nationwide, 90% contingent in writing classes)

*  COVID-19 (F2F options, health concerns for older faculty, low enrollment predictions)

*  Mental health issues (Zoom fatigue, parents working from home, effects on productivity)

Part II: Knee-deep in the Trenches (What Now?)

*  Convert lines

*  Split literature and composition

*  Effects of caps on doctoral programs

*  Use Denver / Doug Hesse as an example

*  Create more “real world” curriculum options

*  Chairs, deans, and tenured faculty’s role in helping

*  Location differences (private vs. unionized schools) 

*  Pushback (striking, unionizing, and collective bargaining)

Part III: Bye, Felicia (Greener Pastures)

*  Alternative-academic careers (editors, K-12, prison educators, design specialists)

*  Academic positions (Writing Center, Advising, Career Education and Development)

*  Lady luck (full-time and tenured faculty with cautionary tales, specifically in humanities) 


The hard truth is tenured positions are diminishing.  Few contingent faculty find their way into those positions, despite years of academic service and experience.  The shame many feel about not being able to support themselves can be paralyzing, trapping NTTF in hopelessness and poverty.  It robs them of time and energy to change their situations.

Most outside the ivory tower (students, parents, education policymakers, and journalists) have no idea what being an adjunct professor entails. 

Hence, options need laid out at every step of the way.  We need a national conversation about (1) what academia is and is not, (2) the purpose of higher education, and (3) how we must support the professors who provide it.


Deadline for abstracts: April 1, 2021

Several university presses have expressed an interest in this collection, but a firmer table of contents is needed. 

Abstracts should be roughly 250-500 words long.  Please include the author’s name, title of the proposed chapter, affiliation, and email address, as well as a current curriculum vitae.

Completed book chapters (4,500-6,000 words / MLA style) anticipated by September 1, 2021. 

Please submit to with “Adjunct Book” in the subject line.  Feel free to ask questions.