Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fuck the future; how the debasement of adjuncts/sessionals and tertiary intellectual workers imperils the academy and beyond

Andrew Bricker, who the Globe and Mail informs me is an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill University, has a really depressing article on page R7 of today's Globe.

Bricker, like a lot of extravagantly over-qualified people, doesn't seem to be able to find a tenure-track position.

This is nothing new. I remember an adjunct professor, or a "sessional" as we call them in Canada, lamenting the fact that he had been juggling sessional gigs for ten years. Over a pint after class he divulged that he sincerely regretted not becoming a high-school teacher. After all, there are no sessional high school teachers. Even the supply teachers are covered by union contracts that, unlike the contracts at the University level, are backed up by unions that still have some schlep.

Quite unlike the Canadian Association for University Teachers.

So if Professor Davis was having a tough time of it back in 1982, it's apparently a thousand times worse in 2015.

Which fact will hurt all of us in the long run.

The sad truth is that full time tenure track appointments in today's universities go to people who can "add value" to the institution.

And value is today measured only in dollars.

In the short term, this is an existential crisis for Bricker and tens of thousands like him. We're creating an over-educated underclass.

In the long run, we'll all be poorer for it.

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