American Sociological Association

Task Force on Contingent Faculty


The charge to this Task Force is to explore the dynamics and implications of the recent growth of contingent employment among sociologists in the context of the broader structural transformations now underway in U.S. universities and in comparison to other disciplines.

The Task Force is asked to examine and document:

Employment trends: the growth of lectureships, adjuncts, and part-time teaching jobs, and the extent to which such contingent positions are replacing traditional tenure-track positions;

Conditions of employment: wages, benefits, security, stability, teaching loads, extent of involvement in teaching graduate-level courses, support from teaching assistants, unionization, etc.;

Position of contingent faculty in the university: relationship to graduate students, other faculty, and administration (e.g., inclusion in departmental deliberations and in other forums of shared governance);

Careers: how individual sociologists came to be contingent faculty, the demographic composition of contingent faculty compared to those in traditional tenure-track or tenured positions, the extent to which contingent faculty are actively seeking full-time tenure-track employment, their ability to carry out scholarly research, their experience to date, and how they see their futures; and

Consequences for higher education: how the growth of contingent employment affects the quality of classroom teaching and the education of students; how it affects academic freedom.

The Task Force will also review past and present efforts of other scholarly associations to address these issues, and make recommendations to ASA Council as to how the Association can best address the challenge these developments present to our field.

Task Force Members:

Marisa Allison, PhD candidate in Sociology, George Mason University, and Research Fellow, New Faculty Majority Foundation
Celeste Atkins, Sociology Instructor and Department Chair for Social and Behavioral Sciences, Cochise College
Michael Burawoy, Professor of Sociology, University of California-Berkeley
Dan Clawson, Professor of Sociology, University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Co-Chair)
Louis Edgar Esparza, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Latin American Studies, California State University-Los Angeles (Co-Chair)
Jay R. Howard, Professor of Sociology and Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Butler University
Penny Lewis, Associate Professor and Academic Director of Labor Studies, Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, City University of New York
Ruth Milkman, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Research Director, Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, City University of New York
Catherine Moran, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of New Hampshire
Gillian Niebrugge-Brantley, Professorial Lecturer in Sociology, George Washington University
Nicholas Pagnucco, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Delaware State University
Victor Perez, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice, University of Delaware


Get Involved


ASA needs you to serve the discipline

Join a Section

Explore ASA's community of specialists in the discipline

Join ASA

Join or renew your membership