I do not really know what institutional support feels like. Institutional indifference? Absolutely. But support? Not at all.
Even when I was hired, many of the people in the Communication Studies area didn’t think it was necessary to hire me or that what I did was particularly worthwhile. My direct supervisor supported what I did… or at least, he gave me room to do it.
Especially since the pandemic, I;ve been left to my own devices, and I like to think I’ve done some interesting and worthwhile work, but my colleagues either don’t understand what I’m doing or still see no value in it. If I’m being honest, it’s probably a combination of the two.
Seriously, that communication studies faculty just doesn;t see the worth in multimedia projects still astounds me. Of our full-timers, two do media based projects, and of our part-timers, another two (one of whom is me when I teach). That’s it. Everyone else is still stuck on papers and speeches.
However, the real precarity in my area right now is with our adjuncts. LaGuardia’s student enrollment has crashed, partially due to the pandemic, partially due to the four year schools becoming open admission. At one point, we were down by about one-third from pre-pandemic levels. When the numbers were last publicized – a few weeks ago– we were at about 74% of projected student enrollment, but that projection was lower than projections pre-pandemic.
Fewer students means fewer sections, so many adjuncts either lost their positions or had the number of classes they taught cut. This term, a few of our long term adjuncts on guaranteed contracts are up for renewal. I don’t know if their contracts are getting renewed. I haven’t heard.
I used to teach four classes per year. I’m down to one, maximum. I have a full-time job otherwise, so it makes sense to cut my classes: I don’t rely on these classes. They are extra money. Being discarded like this bothers me, but I understand.
I mean, it’s part of why I’m job-hunting, but I understand the decision.