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Council Establishes Task Force on Contingent Faculty
In response to the “Resolution in Support of Contingent Faculty Remuneration” brought forward at the ASA Business meeting in August 2015, and based on preliminary research by John Curtis, Director of the ASA Department of Research on the Discipline and Profession, Council has voted to establish a three-year 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.
Call for Task Force Volunteers
The Task Force will have representation from different types of colleges and universities and will have a term of three years, starting in March 2016 and concluding in August 2019. It will meet on a regular basis through conference calls; task force members will have opportunities to engage in gathering and analyzing data, developing recommendations, and writing. If you are interested in serving on this task force, send a letter of interest and curriculum vitae to John W. Curtis, ASA Director of Research, firstname.lastname@example.org, by Monday, February 1, 2016.
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