Campus Equity Week is approaching! During this week, which runs from October 25 to 31, AAUP members and other activists hold actions to draw attention to the working conditions of faculty in contingent positions. We seek to make people aware of the reality that faculty in contingent positions, which constitute about three-fourths of the faculty positions in the US, typically work without job security, for low wages, and without access to the professional working conditions that support student learning.
This reality is something I know well. In addition to being an AAUP officer, I’m an adjunct faculty member in the Colorado Community College system, living paycheck to paycheck and facing significant debt. My story mirrors that of many contingent faculty across the country, and here in Colorado we’ll be sharing our stories during Campus Equity Week.
Interested in holding an event on your campus?
Visit the AAUP’s One Faculty, One Resistance page to find CEW resources and ideas for taking action on your campus.
The page includes an action packet for you to download and share with colleagues, students, and supporters at your campus. In it is a chart showing trends in the academic labor force from 1975 to 2015, when the number of part-time faculty increased rapidly, and an AAUP report entitled Tenure and Teaching-Intensive Appointments that examines the collapsing faculty infrastructure. It also contains posters about faculty working conditions you can post in your classroom or office.
I began teaching as an adjunct believing that this job would lead to full-time work. That didn’t happen. My story is shared by thousands of adjunct faculty across the country, and at times my colleagues are unjustifiably ashamed about our working conditions. They take this personally, as if they’ve failed. I’m always telling them, “You haven’t failed, the system has failed you.” And that’s something we’re working to change.
Let’s bring attention to the story of contingent faculty this Campus Equity Week!
Adjunct faculty member, Front Range Community College
Second Vice President, AAUP