"They provide us with flexibility and enrich our faculty," Bigney says. But she maintains that "the full-time faculty salary isn't X dollars for teaching and Y dollars for other stuff."

Local thespian and professor Harlan Baker, who teaches part-time at both USM and SMCC (as does Phoenix writer Megan Grumbling), acknowledges that the part-time package for long-time adjuncts in the UMaine system is generous in some ways — he enjoys both health and retirement benefits. But he's not satisfied. In addition to feeling "invisible in the public debate on the university and higher education" — one that is obviously lively in Maine these days — Baker insists "we should be paid the same amount for teaching."

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