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adjunct faculty

In a striking move, part-time faculty at Northeastern University voted to unionize Thursday, making it the third Boston-area college in the past seven months to do so.

Thursday's vote is part of a popular national movement to give part-time professors collective bargaining rights at a time when colleges and universities are increasingly depending on their work. More than half of Northeastern's faculty is part-time, though the university notes that adjuncts deliver about 27 percent of all instruction.

A new report says part-time teachers at local community colleges are not getting enough institutional support to be effective. And since so many of these schools use adjunct over full time professors, this may be downgrading the quality of education for the millions who attend community colleges.

Part-time professors at Lesley University in Cambridge have overwhelmingly voted to form a union. Lesley is the latest in a growing number of schools to unionize its part-time instructors.

The role of faculty with the rise of new technologies like massive open online courses may be changing, but political scientist Ben Ginsberg argues it's already been changed by the rise of something else: deanlets.  

Deanlets, he explains, are administrators at universities who are often less knowledgeable about the institution but are asked to make big decisions about its direction, something previously done by faculty.  

If you're in college, or you've recently graduated, chances are you've been taught by adjunct, part-time professors. That's because today adjuncts make up more than 50 percent of all college instructors in America — and many of them earn just a few thousand dollars per class. Now, there's a growing movement to unionize these instructors.

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