Inside Higher Ed
October 24th, 2014
It is the time of year when graduate students, unemployed Ph.D.s,
contingent faculty, and various rubberneckers are clogging the lanes of
the internet looking for job announcements. And, in spite of improvement
in certain areas of the economy, there are few to be seen.
Amid the gloom, as job hopefuls often do, I found myself imagining
what I would like to do if I did find myself on the tenure track after
this year. One of my increasingly prosaic fantasies is that I would be
able to act as a good mentor to future contingent faculty, who will no
doubt be a part of our academic labor ecosystem for some years to come.
(Only about 30 percent of faculty positions are now full-time,
tenure-line positions, although the composition of course varies by the
type of institution.) If my years in adjunct purgatory do indeed come to
an end, these are some of the basic practices I would like to put in
place that would show consideration for adjuncts and lecturers. (To
understand my perspective, here is my story.)
And if I spend another year atoning, then perhaps others can do the job
for me. Here, then, is a brief guide for tenure-line faculty to
treating your contingent colleagues with respect.