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Ten Ways UC Faculty Can Combat Contingency and Support Lecturers Now


A recent two-part blog post on Remaking the University examines the reasons why senate faculty are complicit in the crisis of contingency in higher education and proposes that one solution is for departments to vow to stop hiring contingent faculty.  While it’s clear that it will take a bold effort and some serious soul (and funding) searching on the part of senate faculty to reverse the trend of hiring off the tenure track, there are several easy ways that UC faculty can mitigate the impacts of contingency on lecturers and on students right now!.  

At the moment, the best thing that ladder faculty can do to combat contingency in academia is to fully enfranchise their fellow faculty who have been hired off the tenure track.  Support UC-AFT's You See (UC) Democracy? campaign in the following ways:

  • Stop the practice of intentionally churning lecturers in their first six years.  This practice is devastating to the professional lives of lecturers who have worked very hard to develop an excellent record in teaching, service and professional development.  It is equally devastating to the personal lives of lecturers, many of whom have just begun to put down roots in their communities.  Finally, this practice is a major disservice to students who are paying for, and deserve experienced and proven teachers.
  • Invite lecturers to attend faculty meetings and to contribute to discussions and decisions about curriculum and other matters.
  • Support lecturers in sitting on Academic Senate committees with full rights of participation including voting.  
  • Don't segregate lecturers on department websites, directories, etc.  Post their photographs and refer to them as Faculty without qualification.
  • Recognize the professional work that lecturers do.  Many lecturers research and publish, yet we are denied the right to have P.I. status.  This is an unfair impediment to our professional advancement.
  • Support lecturers who want to teach independent studies or honors sections.  In many departments, lecturers are not allowed to teach these courses even though students routinely ask them to.  This practice denies lecturers an important opportunity for professional enrichment and satisfaction at work.  It also denies students the possibility of working with the faculty member who may know them the best and with whom they are the most comfortable.
  • Pay us for all of our work.  We are hired to teach, but we often contribute so much more to our departments.  Our non-teaching work is very often taken for granted by senate faculty.  Help us place an appropriate value on our contributions outside the classroom.

It is often too easy a decision for departments to hire off the tenure track because most tenure track faculty aren't doing a full accounting of the cost of contingency, which is largely borne by their non-tenure track colleagues. Our departments may not have the funding to replace NTT appointments with TT positions at the moment, but they do have the power to take action to mitigate many of the impacts of contingency. 

Please comment on twitter:  @ucaft  #UCDemocracy


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