Not so long ago I noticed the following job advertisement:
"A temporary Part-Time teaching opportunity in philosophy at Oxford Brookes University has come available for Semester 1 of the upcoming academic year (September-October 2010). The teaching involves the following:
- Delivering a second year double module in Ancient Greek philosophy (10-12 one-hour lectures each followed by a one-hour seminar, and two one-hour inquiry sessions per week).
- Delivering a second year module in philosophy of language (10-12 one-hour lectures each followed by a one-hour seminar).
- Delivering a masters level module in philosophy of biology (10-12 one hour lectures each followed by a one-hour seminar).
The total payment would be approximately £4,000."
A little over £1300/course seems not very generous. Remarkably, an undergraduate module at Oxford Brookes cost £540. So each course can be self-supporting at, say, four students (I am assuming overhead-costs and the usual subsidy to central administration bureaucrats, too, just to be safe). I decided not to bother to reverse-enginer the cost of a MA level module.
So, if somebody is lucky with scheduling and very disciplined they can earn about £400/week for, say, two long days philosophical work (but there is no mention of transportation support and/or health care), and have a few miserable weeks during grading-periods.
However, the successful candidate will have an extraordinary mix of Areas of Competence. Normally I think some one with a reasonably broad attitude and a PhD in philosophy can teach any undergraduate course, but Ancient and Biology require some highly specific skills! And teaching a MA-level course in philosophy of biology means that one must combine an AOS in philo bio and AOC in Ancient. That's probably a very rare combination.
Anyway, to make a long story short. If these courses have decent enrollment (say 15 students each for the undergraduate courses and 5 at MA-level) then the instructor will probably be a true bargain for Oxford Brookes. If these classes are much larger, the poor candidate will be very overworked.
Bottom line: given the poor academic job market I wouldn't be surprised if Oxford Brookes actually managed to attract the requisite talent and dedicated individual to fill the position. The profession is producing too many PhDs so that employers can afford to exploit.