I was an instructor at Madison Area Technical College before and, for a semester, after getting my doctorate. I never experienced any discrimination, but this history instructor did, and he just got $1.1 million for getting terminated after complaining.

Note to administrators who favor retaliation: Like, uh, firing people making discrimination claims who also happen to be educated and motivated enough to get a PhD but strapped enough to be teaching at a school like MATC-- not a good idea unless you plan to go to court. Especially in Wisconsin. Or at least, in pre-Walker-ite Wisconsin, who knows where things are headed nowadays.

I may not have been discriminated against at MATC, but like all highly exploited adjuncts, I was paid such a tiny amount of money per huge class that is appalling to recall: $1500 per semester class. That was only a bit more than a TA at UW got per month, but without the benefits. And at MATC.

For some reason I used to think that it mattered. All at the same time I taught at MATC, was a TA, and had a classified state job as well. I used to get home from MATC at 9 am, sleep a few hours, than do the other jobs until 2am. Living the dream.

That is a key part of the Big Lie foisted on history PhDs (actually, some of it is self-generated), which is that it is worth it to work for less than you'd earn doing virtually anything else in order to validate the decision to get a PhD. Neat trick, it has been spun into a continent-wide system of adjunct exploitation which is at the center of the massive expansion of higher education.


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