This is an important project and the more that is done to highlight and tackle this growing issue the better for early career researchers, adjuncts and those currently in the process of getting their PhDs and entering academia. It’s only through exploring our experiences and developing means to resist that we can begin to change the deplorable situations in our universities. While this might seem like it disproportionately affects those in the arts and humanities, all sectors of higher education institutions will be the poorer if the casualisation of academic work continues the way it has been.
In the past 25 years, higher education has seen some major transformations. The percentage of college students who are Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, Black, and Native American has increased steadily while the percentage of white students declines. Unfortunately, increased enrollment and newfound visibility does not necessarily translate into a seat at the table. University administration and faculty do not reflect the demographic shifts seen in student populations. In 2013, 84 percent of full-time professors were white, and 53% white male. At the same time, tuitions continue to rise, but rarely do those funds trickle down to the classroom. More money is being funneled into administrative positions and away from tenure-line hires. Most teaching positions are now part-time and low-paid adjunct positions. According to a 2012 report from the American Association of University Professors, contingent faculty make up over 75% of all instructional staffing. In 1975 only 25% were in these positions.
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