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World’s Highest Adjunct Salary?

October 29, 2007

So I’m not opposed to professors running for office. And I’m also not opposed to students being suspicious of the blatant politics of their educators. But two passages from the story linked above reached out, grabbed me the lapels, and shook me:

Passage #1

“[Professor Gary] Peters said in an interview this week with The Associated Press that his [Central Michigan University] position is part-time and privately funded.”

Passage #2

“Peters, 48, is seeking the Democratic nomination to face Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg in Oakland County [Michigan], one of the top congressional targets for Democrats nationally in 2008. …He acknowledges it would be difficult to keep his $65,000-a-year job at the university if he gets elected to Congress, but says he will worry about that if he wins. Peters holds the Griffin Endowed Chair in American Government – named for a former Republican U.S. senator and Michigan Supreme Court justice.”

An endowed, part-time chair that pays $65 big ones a year? Wow.

If he only understood what he was doing, the student hounding Peters, 23-year-old CMU junior Dennis Lennox, would ask how in the hell a university professor in Michigan can hold a part-time job at $65,000-per-year!? This has to be the world’s highest adjunct salary. This “job” sounds like the old graft work handed out by Chicago political operatives.

And I thought I was in the wrong business for money-making. Or maybe it is just that I’m an historian and not a political scientist? That’s it—I’m not dialed in with the right folks. – TL

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One Comment
  1. Tim,

    Exactly right. The issue is not the holding of a job, its the salary and part-time nature of it as a “gift” to Gary Peters. The salary, by the way, is “privately-funded” only in the sense that the money given to create the Griffin Chair years ago was given by a citizen and it must be used to hire a professor for the Chair. Who's hired is determined by a public process – the check Peters receives is a public check – oh, and Peters gets publicly-sourced benefits, as well.

    Peters quit his “full-time” job as Lottery Commissioner because he knew he couldn't perform it (legally either, since lottery has special rules) and run for office. The ink was not even dry on his resignation when CMU “signed” him. His CMU contract is actually for “full-time” work, but that seems only defined as teaching one class and holding office hours. You're right though – if it were “private”, it might be considered a way to evade campaign contribution limits as a “fake job”. Indeed, since its CMU, a public university, its questionable to start with since its public money.

    BTW, I just broke an e-mail leak story on retaliation against Lennox. See


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