Pennsylvania State College

Negotiated Conversions: Living with Uncertainty

As a group, college teachers are replaceable parts, and when one of us is replaced, perhaps the only thing it is possible to say with confidence about the new model is that she will cost less. Anyone looking at higher education today can see that the tuition and fees college students pay keep outpacing inflation. But fewer notice that college teachers’ compensation plays almost no role in these increasing costs and may actually have a dampening effect. After all, an ever-more-contingent faculty means a cheaper faculty.

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