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Faculty Union at University of Prince Edward Island Wants Longer Contracts for Sessionals

People hired to teach courses on contract are one of the sticking points in contract talks between the administration at the University of Prince Edward Island and its faculty.

The two sides will meet again for the first time since the faculty association asked the provincial government to appoint a conciliator.

The faculty association wants the part-time instructors, known as sessionals, hired for longer periods of time, and for them to be given more support for their research. Association spokesman Wayne Peters said sessional instructors make up nearly half of all faculty.

“They’re hired to teach a course, often at the first year level where the class sizes are much bigger, for what would be considered very little pay,” said Peters.

“We’re hiring people to teach on a per-course basis for about $5,000 per course, little or no benefits. It’s a good deal for the university.”

The administration says sessional instructors play a valuable role at the university, and they often have other careers and bring real world experience to the classroom.

They’re also able to take over some courses from tenured professors, who were guaranteed a smaller course load and more time for research in the last collective agreement.

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