“I need regularity and I need the administration to show more concern for what it means to produce knowledge and the conditions required to do so,” adds Émilie. “It’s not a job like any other. We need the proper space and care to do it. I want to believe that our mission is valuable. The university is structured like a business, despite having a completely different mission. We are training people for careers, not building skills.”
‘The Faces of Precarity’ CAUT, October 2017. https://www.caut.ca/bulletin/2017/10/faces-precarity
10 years ago, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) hosted its first Fair Employment Week, that would highlight the precarious position most contract faculty across Canada were in. Over those 10 years, contract faculty work has become even more precarious. The numbers according to CAUT are striking:
- 1/3 of professors across Canada are contract faculty
- on average those professors earn 1/3 less than their regular counterparts
- 50% of undergraduates in Canada are taught y contract Faculty.
Perhaps most telling is the fact that since 1990 the number of contract faculty has increased by 200% while the number of regular professors has risen by only 14%.
Now organizations such as CAUT and FPSE and their members take one week in October to highlight the plight of contract faculty members across Canada. This year, Fair Employment Week is taking place the week of October 23rd -27th across the country with a variety of events taking place on campuses across the country.
A survey done in 2014 by FPSE found that, on average, non-regular instructors have been working at their current institution for six and half years. Some have worked at the same institution for 25 years! These instructors are permanently temporary.
‘What Do BC’s Precarious Faculty Want?’ by Weldon Cowan. http://www.precariousprofsbc.ca/we_teach_bc
Here at TRU, contract faculty (Sessional, Continuing Sessional and Limited Term Faculty members) face many of the same problems that contract faculty face across Canada. Poor job security, a lack of benefits and low pay are certainly a huge issue for most contract faculty at TRU. However, other issues, such as feeling isolated on campus, a lack of respect from the administration and even tenured faculty coupled with poor institutional support also affect TRU’s contract faculty.
TRUFA has two contract faculty representatives–Teressa Fedorak and Paul Grand–who are working to address many of the contract faculty concerns. If you are a contract faculty member at TRU, please feel free to contact them.
For more information about Fair Employment Week please see the following links:
‘The Faces of Precarity‘, CAUT Bulletin, October 2017. https://www.caut.ca/bulletin/2017/10/faces-precarity
‘By The Numbers‘, CAUT Bulletin, October 2017. https://www.caut.ca/bulletin/2017/10/numbers-contract-academic-staff-canada
‘What Do BC’s Precarious Faculty Want?’ Weldon Cowan. http://www.precariousprofsbc.ca/we_teach_bc