Friday, September 5, 2014

addressing adjuncts as a "lost generation" (article)

Tim Pettipiece addresses the situation in Canada where contingent academic labor is on the rise (adjuncts in Canada are referred to as "sessional" labor).  In alarming news we find that working conditions in Canada are quickly beginning to mimic those found in the U.S.

The article voices some very understandable concerns and reports on the cold, hard facts of reality: namely that even if one does what they are supposed to do (has great teaching evaluations, a host of quality publications, a wide range of experience, and perhaps even various teaching or scholarship awards) that more often than not hiring simply comes down to whim and fancy, often appealing to name-brand degree above all else and not much more.

The article also points to how many tenured faculty today would never survive in today's job market.  Hence applicants who have better records of publication and frankly who are much better teachers are the ones without jobs, while tenured faculty shamelessly wallow in poor teaching and thin numbers (if any) of publications.  This is a shame considering that those same applicants (those who trump tenured folks in quality and ability) are the majority yet do not go on to hold tenure track positions.  In fact, the number of unemployed or underemployed Ph.D.s snowballs each year.

I've been on both sides of the isle having held a tenure-track position and having been offered at least three times different tenure track opportunities.  I have also been part of the ranks of "contingent" faculty.  I can say wholeheartedly that there is not much difference save for a title.  Contingent faculty, too, do perform as much service and scholarship as do tenure stream folks.  In fact, contingent faculty are oftentimes much better teachers because the stakes can be higher.

Link to the full article is HERE.