Academia's Stratification

We have tended to see the professor as a single figure, but he is now a multiple being, of many types, tasks, and positions... As higher ed has undergone some of the same changes as medicine, a complicated web of academic labor has developed. For the student, the result is similar to the patient seeking health care: When she enters college, she only occasionally encounters a full-fledged professor; she is more likely to see beta professionals—the adjunct comp teacher, the math TA, the graduate assistant in the writing center, the honors-program adviser, and the staff members who run the programs... The chief difference from medicine is the steep drop in pay, benefits, and job security for those who hold beta positions... What good is knowledge if it brings us gross inequality and unfair terms for a majority of those who work, or with whom we work?

Jeffrey J. Williams, "The Great Stratification," The Chronicle