Contingent Faculty

What Do We Know about Teaching Online?

Headlines about online instruction change quickly. Six months ago, massive open online courses (MOOCs) were news. Now, the news is no longer about the wonders of technology or access—the focus instead is on the potentially negative effects of online working conditions.

What is it really like to teach online? What kind of professional life does an online faculty member lead? Does the art of teaching survive online delivery? Faculty working conditions, after all, are students’ learning conditions.

Change Requires Discipline

Today, approximately seven out of every ten instructional faculty members at nonprofit institutions of higher learning are employed off the tenure track; nearly half of all faculty members providing instruction in nonprofit higher education hold part-time appointments. The characteristics that distinguish tenure-track from non-tenure-track faculty members are not limited to the latter’s lack of eligibility for tenure.

Contract Agreement at Wright State

In late September, the AAUP chapter at Wright State University in Ohio signed its first contract and workload agreement with the university covering about 180 fulltime non-tenure-eligible faculty members, giving them unprecedented job security and other benefits.

Campus Equity Week

Campus Equity Week (called Fair Employment Week in Canada) is designed to draw attention to inequities on campuses across North America. The vast majority of faculty now hold insecure partand full-time non-tenure-track positions, often subject to exploitative employment conditions. And students’ access to a high-quality college education is increasingly uneven.

Of Brahmins and Dalits in the Academic Caste System

Traditionally, the three-pronged mission of our colleges and universities has been to provide high-quality education, encourage cutting-edge research, and promote professional and community service. The substitution of business-based policies for sound academic principles, however, has institutionalized a form of professional inequality that threatens all three.

The Ethics of Tenuous Faculty

What exactly are the ethical responsibilities of college faculty? From what do they arise? How do those responsibilities matter in the everyday working lives of faculty members?

From the President: No Faculty Member Is an Island

Like it or not, our profession has been changing in a number of ways. First, 70 percent of faculty appointments are now off the tenure track. So, although we will continue to fight to expand the number of tenure-track faculty, we must do more to expand our membership among faculty who are off the tenure track. Likewise, because in many cases faculty responsibilities have been “unbundled” and academic professionals are now performing tasks formerly done by faculty, we must also do a better job of reaching out to those professionals. 

From the President: Inequality, Corporatization, and the Casualization of Academic Labor

When we think of threats to academic freedom, legislative threats are likely the first thing that comes to mind. For example, bills that threaten to withhold funds from institutions that are members of certain associations or that simply run programs that teach about unions.

Can the Professoriate be Saved?

Equality For Contingent Faculty: Overcoming the Two-Tier System Keith Hoeller, ed. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2014.

Overcoming the Challenges of Contingent Faculty Organizing

Now is the time for contingent faculty organizing. The drumbeat of publicity in popular and higher education publications means that contingent faculty on your campus know not only that being a college professor is no longer an almost certain path to the middle class, but also that they are not alone. While contingent faculty are culturally middle class or elitist, they are blue collar financially. I get paid roughly what a Boston Public Schools bus driver with modest seniority makes.


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