The Blog

[SATIRE]: Less Than One Day Before Classes, Barnard Adjunct’s Contract Renewed

After an agonizing winter spent grading papers and freelance writing, Elizabeth Shapiro, an adjunct in the Barnard History department, was relieved to wake up today to find an email from her department head confirming that she will indeed teach this semester.

“I’m very grateful,” Professor Shapiro told us. “I think I have just enough time to prepare the syllabi.”

Shapiro will teach two classes, Survey of Jewish Literature in Greece and Modern Jewish Agrarianism, both of which she has not taught before. “They didn’t give me a sample syllabi, so I have to write them all up tonight,” she said. “Nevertheless, I’m glad to be back, maybe I’ll even have my own cubicle in Fayerweather this semester.”

Unfortunately, this type of labor practice is as common at our peer institutions as it is here at Barnard. Another adjunct, an anonymous professor in the department of English lamented that he was only paid $4,000 per course. “My credit score is shot. I can barely afford food and rent, much less pay for my Metrocard,” Shapiro tells us.

At press time, Professor Shapiro was searching Borrow Direct to see if she could acquire the textbooks she was going to assign before her students could get to them.

The author is a sophomore in Barnard College studying Urban Studies. She can be found on Twitter @Toni_Airaksinen. To comment or respond to this piece, email

(1/21/16): To clarify, this post is meant to be a satirical submission about the plight of adjunct faculty who face low wages for the amount of work they are expected to do. The Professor (“Elizabeth Shapiro”) and courses listed are in no way meant to reflect actual faculty or staff at either Barnard College or Columbia University. The Lion team regrets any confusion this may have caused.

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