Petition to Investigate Contingent Faculty Employment


Over 1000 people so far have signed a petition asking the U.S. Department of Labor to “open an investigation into the labor practices of our colleges and universities in the employment of contingent faculty, including adjunct instructors and full-time contract faculty outside the tenure-track.”

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Steve
Steve
6 years ago

I feel like we need to be careful about this issue is framed. The problem is people teaching at the adjunct rate and on a per course basis. These are the people who have to teach 4-4 to barely make $30,000. These are the real contingent faculty.

There are some very good full time faculty jobs that are not tenure stream. These are full-time at a reasonable teaching load, come with benefits, decent pay, and are usually renewable for long periods of time. While these jobs are not as good as tenure stream ones, they can still be quite desirable. Lumping these people in with the former is not fair to people who are truly being exploited by universities and colleges.Report

Derek Bowman
6 years ago

There are many full-time NTT positions which pay as poorly as the per course numbers you propose above. It’s true that there are *some* good NTT positions, with decent salaries and benefits. But there are also plenty of shamefully compensated positions that are not paid on a per-course basis. Which is more common for full-time NTT positions? Maybe we someone should investigate.

In the meantime, philosophers should be ashamed that we have tolerated this employment model for so long and allowed it to get so bad. It’s one thing to hire adjuncts for a term or two to handle unexpected enrollment shifts or to fill courses for a sabbatical replacement. But it’s shameful to make a practice of filling your regular, predictable course needs with adjunct labor, semester after semester.

If you’re in a department which offers this kind of contingent employment ask yourself these questions: Does this position pay a decent wage that reflects the level of professional training and qualification that the position demands? Does the position provide the kind of experience, research opportunities, and/or professional development that will help the successful candidate to transition to a more stable, desirable position?

If the answer to both questions is no, then you should be ashamed to advertise and conduct interviews for that position. How can you seriously make such offers to fellow members of your profession?Report

Steve
Steve
6 years ago

It’s true that there are *some* good NTT positions, with decent salaries and benefits. But there are also plenty of shamefully compensated positions that are not paid on a per-course basis. Which is more common for full-time NTT positions? Maybe we someone should investigate.

That’s a really good question. I wonder if you could set up a poll thread where people describe their own departments in terms of: 1) number of TT faculty, 2) number of full time NTT faculty (including teaching post docs), 3) number of adjuncts, and 4) type of institution.Report

Dawn Fels
Dawn Fels
6 years ago

Careful consideration was put into “lumping” full-time NTT educators in with part-time adjuncts. In fact, the Weil letter was co-authored by educators whose institutional status ranged from adjunct, NTT contingent faculty, TT faculty, and administration.

Recent articles have offered the derivation of the word “adjunct” and gone so far as to say that even TT faculty are contingent; all positions seem to be contingent these days.

Full-time NTT faculty may have contracts (and all the trappings of full-time employment), but those contracts are rarely long-term (i.e. five years or more). Most range from one to three years. Renewal of those contracts is contingent on factors that fall outside job performance, and in at-will situations, the contract is ultimately meaningless.

NTT faculty may also have the same if not more professional cred as their TT colleagues: advanced degrees, teaching experience, publications, research, and service. Yet NTT’s institutional status leaves them lower on the organizational hierarchy than their TT colleagues and more susceptible to exploitation and inequity.

It is true that there are some fantastic NTT full-time positions, and that those who occupy those positions can experience relative job security, support, and the same pay and benefits as their TT colleagues receive. But that’s not the case for most.Report

mirandamerklein
6 years ago

Reblogged this on PrecariLeaks and commented:
Short and sweet, in accordance to the minimalist tradition. (But really, thanks.)Report