Jul 16 2014

The “Other” Contingent Faculty

Category: Contract Faculty,Online Publication,ResearchBob Hanke @ 8:23 pm

The “Other” University Teachers: Non-Full-Time Instructors at Ontario Universities 

by Cynthia C. Field, Glen A. Jones, Grace Karram Stephenson and Artur Khoyetsyan, University of Toronto

(excerpted from HEQCO, Research Publications)

More research needed on the “other” university teachers: Non-full-time instructors

Over the last decade, increases in Ontario university enrollment have outstripped growth in full-time, tenure-stream faculty. Non-full-time faculty, which include sessional and graduate student instructors, play a significant role in addressing increased teaching demands although there is a dearth of public information about hiring trends and considerable variation in conditions of employment.

According to a new study from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), further research is needed into the roles and experiences of sessional instructors, institutional employment trends and the implications for quality and student success.

Project description
“The “Other” University Teachers: Non-Full-Time Instructors at Ontario Universities” is a preliminary exploration of the employment of sessional and graduate student instructors. The study is based on a detailed review of collective agreements and related documentation, and the analysis of institutional data on employment.

Although most Ontario universities do not report the number of non-full-time instructors, the study found relevant data on the websites of five institutions, where in all but one case, the number of sessional instructors had increased in recent years. Based on the limited public data available, the study found that the ratio of sessional instructors to full-time faculty appears to be increasing at some universities while decreasing or remaining stable at others, suggesting that different universities are making very different decisions related to academic staffing.

Acknowledging that each Ontario university is “an autonomous corporation with the ability to make independent decisions related to employment,” the study found that conditions of employment for non-full-time instructors vary by institution.  At 10 of the universities, sessional instructors are represented by the same association as full-time, tenure-stream faculty, while at the other 10 there are separate unions or associations. And while sessional instructors have various benefits guaranteed under collective agreements, often including some form of job security related to seniority or promotion, the authors note that sessional instructors “do not have anything close to the level of security associated with tenure.” The conditions of employment for graduate student instructors roughly parallel those of sessional instructors, according to the study.

Further research
There may be major differences by university in terms of the balance between full-time, tenure-stream faculty and non-full-time instructors, as well as important implications for Ontario higher education, say the authors, who call for additional research, including:

A province-wide survey of sessional instructors to learn more about their background (academic and professional), employment situation and teaching load, as well as their perceptions and experiences.

A more detailed study of institutional staffing patterns through the collection and analysis of data on employment trends at all Ontario universities; and

A detailed analysis of staffing patterns within selected academic units at different Ontario universities and the implications of these patterns for educational quality and student success.

To read the complete report, click here.

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Jul 06 2014

COCAL and Working USA Call for Papers: Contingent Academic Labor

Category: Conferences,ResearchBob Hanke @ 8:34 pm

Contingent Academic Labor

WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society (WUSA) is devoting a special issue to contingent academic labor in the USA, North America and throughout the world.  The journal encourages cross-disciplinary essays drawn from the social sciences and the humanities that examine the contemporary significance of contingent academic labor using a range of methods and empirical analysis.  Essays should focus on the study of work, labor, capitalism, the state, and bureaucracy.

The editors especially seek essays drawn from presentations at the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor XI conference in August, 2014 in New York City. We encourage submissions by activists and organizers as well academic researchers. Articles can be case studies, memoirs, interviews or oral histories, if they also raise more general points of interest.

We encourage essays that include one or more of the following:

* Reach theoretical insights in addressing the relevance of the status and experiences of contingent academic labor through comparative/historical perspectives.
* Examine the conditions and experiences of adjunct laborers in the context of the political economy of knowledge.
* Compare and contrast contingent academic laborers to analogous workers in the labor market that is referred to as “precarious work”.
* Examine the ways in which the politics and economics of contingent labor intersect with issues of race, gender, ethnicity, and/or sexuality.
* Contribute theoretical insights on the actuality and potential for forgoing bonds of solidarity that increase working class power and build stronger institutions.
* Contribute to the strategic discussion of organizing among contingent academics and the considerations of alliances, techniques, structures, and consciousness.
* Compare and contrast the situation and collective struggles of contingent academics in the US with those in other nations, especially Canada (including Quebec), and Mexico.

Please submit papers by October 15, 2015.
All essay submissions are sent through a peer review process.  Click on the names below to send essays to editorial board members and guest editors.
Joe Berry (Editorial Board)
Marcia Newfield (Editorial Board)
Polina Kroik (Associate Editor)
Immanuel Ness (Editorial Board)

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Aug 01 2012

York Researchers Find What Contract Faculty Desire

Category: Contract Faculty,Online Publication,ResearchBob Hanke @ 3:40 pm

York Study Finds Workers Want Meaningful Work

(excerpted from Y-File, July 31, 2012)

Workers of all ages see their jobs and employers in a similar light and want many of the same things, this according to a study of 1,000 people in 50 American states conducted by researchers in the School of Human Resource Management in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies at York University. The findings will be presented at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention on Aug. 5.

“Many books and articles claim that younger and older workers see their jobs differently and want different things,” said York faculty member Paul Fairlie, a behavioural scientist, consultant and the study’s researcher. “But some of that is based on opinion and hearsay. More rigorous research is needed.”

The study found that age and generations had only a zero to three per cent effect how people see their work and what they desire from the workplace. Positive working conditions were far more responsible for people’s satisfaction, commitment, and retention.

To read the rest of this story, including the study’s  recommendations, click here.

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Jun 26 2012

Understanding the Contingent Faculty Workforce

Category: ResearchBob Hanke @ 3:57 am

A Portrait of Part-Time Faculty Members
A Summary of Findings on Part-Time Faculty Respondents to the Coalition on the Academic Workforce

Survey of Contingent Faculty Members and Instructors in the U.S.

Key Findings
While the report provides details on demographics, working conditions, and professional support as reported by the faculty respondents who indicated they were teaching part-time in fall 2010, several key indicators stand out that show how heavily colleges and universities are relying on part-time faculty members while failing to support them adequately.
◆ The median pay per course, standardized to a three-credit course, was $2,700 in fall 2010 and ranged in the aggregate from a low of $2,235 at two-year colleges to a high of $3,400 at four-year doctoral or research universities. While compensation levels varied most consistently by type of institution, part-time faculty respondents report low compensation rates per course across all institutional categories.
◆ Part-time faculty respondents saw little, if any, wage premium based on their credentials. Their compensation lags behind professionals in other fields with similar credentials, and they experienced little in the way of a career ladder (higher wages after several years of work).
◆ Professional support for part-time faculty members’ work outside the classroom and inclusion in academic decision making was minimal.
◆ Part-time teaching is not necessarily temporary employment, and those teaching part-time do not necessarily prefer a part-time to a full-time position. Over 80% of respondents reported teaching part-time for more than three years, and over half for more than six years. Furthermore, over three-quarters of respondents said they have sought, are now seeking, or will be seeking a full-time tenure-track position, and nearly three-quarters said they would definitely or probably accept a full-time tenure-track position at the institution at which they were currently teaching if such a position were offered.
◆ Course loads varied significantly among respondents. Slightly more than half taught one course or two courses during the fall 2010 term, while slightly fewer than half taught three or more courses.

To read the whole survey, click here.

Next Steps
This report is only a beginning. The findings suggest numerous questions for further research. The survey data file is available to qualified researchers, and CAW urges them to probe the data gathered by the fall 2010 survey to produce further reports and insights. CAW will also be exploring how this survey might be regularized to develop trend data on the working conditions of the contingent academic workforce. For information or to request access to the survey data file, please e‑mail CAW (contact@academicworkforce.org).

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May 17 2012

2012 OCUFA Faculty Survey

Category: ResearchBob Hanke @ 7:17 pm

Ontario’s professors and academic librarians warn that university quality is on the decline

(excerpted from OCUFA, May 14, 2012)

Professors and academic librarians are concerned about the quality of education at Ontario’s universities, according to a new survey released today. Of those surveyed, 42 per cent believed that quality had declined at their institution.

“Ontario’s universities have welcomed thousands of new students over the past five years, but public funding has just not kept pace with the enrolment increase,” said Constance Adamson, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). “Universities are straining to accommodate the new students with inadequate resources, and the cracks are beginning to show.”

Other worrying survey findings include:

  • 63 per cent of faculty believe class sizes have increased over the past five years
  • 83 per cent of faculty report budget cuts in their department
  • 76 per cent of faculty report an increased use of part-time faculty at their institution
  • 73 per cent of faculty report an increase in workload, which for many (41 per cent) means less time to interact with students outside of class

The survey also revealed that Ontario’s professors and academic librarians are deeply committed to the quality of university education and the essential link between teaching and research at the province’s universities. Surveyed faculty value teaching and research equally, although they believe their commitment to teaching is not always shared by their institution.

“Ontario’s professors and academic librarians believe that the connection between teaching and research –what we call ‘scholarship’—is at the heart of the university,” said Adamson. “When we separate teaching from research, we don’t give our students the education they expect.”

The OCUFA faculty survey was commissioned to assess Ontario university professors’ and academic librarians’ opinion on a variety of issues affecting university education. The online survey received over 2,300 responses between March 21 and April 16, 2012.

To read the faculty survey, click here.


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