MOVING TO FRONT FROM YESTERDAY--SEE UPDATE
Interesting infographic, courtesy of Jack Kelle. One point to bear in mind is that the less well-regarded the PhD program you attend, the higher the probability of ending up an adjunct.
UPDATE: My colleage Michael Kremer writes:
The page to which you linked on the adjunct crisis overstates things by *a lot* in one crucial respect.
He reports over 140,000 doctorates awarded last year. That seemed incredibly suspicious, so I checked the link he gave for that datum.
The 140,000 figure "Includes Ph.D., Ed.D., and comparable degrees at the doctoral level. Includes most degrees formerly classified as first-professional, such as M.D., D.D.S., and law degrees." footnote 1 at http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=72
The number of actual PhDs is actually closer to 50,000. http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf10308/
So it is more like one "professorship" position (whatever that means; I didn't check further) for every three PhDs rather than one position for every 10 PhDs.
I don't want in any way to diminish the problem with adjuncts making up the majority of the teaching faculty, their poor working conditions, miserable pay,lack of benefits, etc. But I don't think falsehood in the service of laudable goals is a good strategy.
AND ANOTHER: Kathryn Norlock (Trent) writes:
I have heard from students, colleagues, and reporters here in Canada yesterday and today, who wanted me to confirm the number on the infographic to which you recently linked, that the "AVG." salary of tenure-track professors in the USA is $120,000.
I do not find any evidence that this is the case, and rather than continue fielding individual emails myself, I would ask that you clarify on your blog that the data from this table:
suggests that the infographic's "avg" comes closest to reflecting the average salary of Full Professors at doctoral institutions, that is, our most senior colleagues, and the smallest segment of "tenure-track" instructional faculty. I find it shockingly irresponsible of the infographic authors to suggest otherwise.
I agree this is misleading, though full professors are sometimes said to be "tenure-stream," and it may be that an adjunct of comparable seniority (I do not know) might indeed earn an average of 20K. In any case, these two examples suggest that the 'infographic' be approached with some caution.