The PSA Contingent Faculty Study
“According to institutional data, during the 2012-2013 academic year, adjunct and other contingent faculty made up 71 percent of the total faculty at George Mason University.”From Indispensable but Invisible
In January of 2014, Mason sociology doctoral student Marisa Allison was invited in to sit on a Congressional Briefing panel for House Democrats to discuss the working conditions of part-time and contingent faculty in colleges and universities as part of her work with the New Faculty Majority Foundation. Marisa’s work with other alumni of the PSA, Randy Lynn and Victoria Hoverman, ultimately led to the publication of the PSA’s contingent faculty study, Indispensable but Invisible: A Report on the Working Climate of Non-Tenure Track Faculty at George Mason University, a report that examines the experiences of contingent faculty at our very own university.
Contingent faculty now make up 2/3 of college and university faculty, teaching the majority of courses offered in U.S. colleges and universities.
Despite their ubiquitous presence and high teaching loads, contingent faculty often do not earn a living wage. For many current doctoral students, it is likely that large numbers of them will end up in these positions if they pursue work in academia.
In the DC metro area, the word about the hidden inequities of contingent faculty labor is getting out, and students and their parents are starting to question how institutions that continue to raise tuition can pay those who are teaching their students so little. Students at both George Washington University and American University have led movements that successfully helped their contingent faculty unionize, and the movement’s energy is spreading to other parts of the DC metro area.
Public Sociology Conferences
The Public Sociology Association has hosted 5 conferences on themes and topics related to the practice of public sociology. These conferences brought together a diverse cast of academics, practitioners, and activists working on variety of projects of interest to public sociologists.
Copies of these conferences’ programs can be downloaded below.