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Contingent Faculty

There is a recent societal trend toward the use of contingent employees. Higher education must not become comfortable with that trend and should resist its application on campus. Administrations are increasingly hiring professionals into marginalized positions — and decreasing the numbers of tenured and tenure track faculty — to the detriment of those so marginalized, the institution, and the profession.

Faculty work in non-standard employment situations for a variety of reasons: because no full-time position is available, because part-time employment is appropriate for them at that time in their career, because they want to be involved in the academy. One of the primary abuses of part-time faculty comes with campuses refusing to convert long-term part-time positions into full-time, tenure track ones.

Part-time and temporary faculty should be treated as the professionals they are and be involved in the governance of the campus.
Where part-time faculty wish to bargain collectively, they should be able to do so. However, care should be taken in determining how they will be organized and what their relationship will be with full-time faculty who might also be in a bargaining unit. It should be a local determination whether the part-time faculty are part of the full-time bargaining unit or whether they are part of a separate unit.
What all faculty need to beware of is the tendency on the part of administrations to pit full-time faculty against part-time, which can easily be done through threats that increasing resources for one group would be at the expense of the other.