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Pittsburgh “Countering Contingency” Conference Offers Hope To Adjunct Activists

by Jack Longmate

Over the past twenty-five years, U.S. colleges and universities have substantially increased their reliance on part-time and adjunct faculty instruction… The working conditions of part-time faculty members vary widely, but in comparison to their full-time colleagues, the majority of part-time faculty members teach under emphatically substandard conditions. Part-time faculty members are far less likely to have offices or telephones or to receive remuneration for office hours…. Part-time (and adjunct, non- tenure-track) faculty members are far less likely to receive regular evaluation … or to have opportunities to interact with colleagues, serve on committees, participate in faculty governance, attend professional conferences, or engage in research.—Statement from the Conference on the Growing Use of Part-Time and Adjunct Faculty, September 26-28, 1997

The above statement was written in 1997, however it could been written today, over 15 years later.  The real question is whether it will be written 10 or even 20 years from now.

Not only is the dismal rate of progress for the contingent faculty demoralizing, so too is the lack of goals, much less consensus about those goals and strategy. The Pittsburgh “Countering Contingency” conference that took place April 5-7, 2013, may possibly hint at a new

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