Adjuncts Who Teach For The Love of It ARE the Problem

The following was posted to CASA, a “home online for casual, adjunct, sessional staff and their allies in Australian Higher Education.” In case you thought higher ed. in Oz might be a dream for those who teach as adjuncts, the low pay and lack of institutional support for and over-reliance on temp faculty is just as pervasive there as it is in the U.S. Members of CASA are looking to dialogue not only with sessional faculty, but “are also keen to hear from those who make decisions about casualisation, and those whose in secure employment whose work is framed by trying to find good ways of engaging with precariously-hired colleagues they appreciate and respect without further exploiting their gifted time.” On October 19, CASA posted this manifesto with five points “as a foundation for casuals to assert their dignity and their rights.” CASA members want adjuncts to set “limits to the exploitation” of adjunct and casual faculty.

Stopping the exploitation of adjuncts begins with adjuncts.

Re: Setting limits to exploitation and the plight of casual academics in Australia

Casualisation is one of the most acute problems in Australian tertiary education. As conditions for casual staff continue to deteriorate, it is important for casuals to work collectively to protect their rights. Management, staff and students need to understand what casualisation involves, as we are currently teaching the majority of classes in Australian universities, and as such, our working conditions are a matter of national significance. Working conditions for casual academics in Australian universities can be improved, and change can start with casuals themselves and their everyday work.

We are casual academics, like you, and we are asking you to consider, adhere to, or implement the following five points of action. We are writing these points based on our experiences teaching in the humanities at an Australian university. We invite casual academic staff from other disciplines and institutions to give their input in the comments on other concrete ways in which we can change current conditions and create a better environment for our working, teaching and research.

  1. Do not do extra work, unless it is clearly paid: e.g. do not give unpaid guest lectures; do not offer student consultation times, including answering emails, unless consultation times are paid separately; request lesson plans from course convenors, given the very limited paid time for lesson-prep.
  2. Ask to be included in course design and on administrative matters: You are entitled to have input on teaching and administrative matters that affect your work (negotiate marking deadlines; ask for one mandatory reading per week, no more).

To read the CASA post in its entirety, including the remaining three points, click here.

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