“The question of what is to be done to fight against academic precarity, strikes into the heart of the involvement of academics with politics. …The neoliberal short-term flexible contracts, the enormous work-load of teaching and publication under the “publish or perish” imperative, and the incentive for short-term project based research-oriented fundraising all compartmentalize the experience of research. In a life of accelerated mobility and inflated demands of work and activist involvement, they create a fake dilemma between political commitment and thorough academic work. It creates a dichotomy between those in permanent position, who can afford time to research, think, and write, but who are critiqued as becoming a part of the establishment, and the precarious academics who have none of these privilege, and whose political work is often seen as a lost cause for their academic advancement. And while the new ethos of academic-activist requires a reassessment of the relation between political involvement and knowledge production, meaningful public intervention still stay beyond the scope of overworked scholars cast invisible as workers and human beings.” “The Age of Precarity and the New Challenges to the Academic Profession” by Mariya P. Ivancheva.
“At all career stages, though perhaps most harmfully amongst PhD students and early career researchers, a sense of commitment to a calling helps license acquiescence to precarious and exploitative labour relations which make a lie of the ideal of collegiality still alluded to within the academy.” Life in the Accelerated Academy by Mark Carrigan on The London School of Economics and Political Science.
“The debate over working conditions for adjunct faculty was recently reignited by the death of Margaret Mary Vojtko on September 1. Vojtko, who had a long career as an adjunct professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, died penniless after being fired from the university in the last year of her life. Her story served as a reminder of what has become a massive underclass of underpaid contingent labor in academia.” Interview with an Adjunct Organizer: “People Are Tired of the Hypocrisy” by Moshe Z. Marvit in Dissent.
“Teach Higher is a company which will effectively outsource hourly paid academic staff, whereby they will no longer be employed directly by the university but by a separate employer: ‘Teach Higher’. Teach Higher has been set up by Warwick University-owned ‘Warwick Employment Group’, and is about to be piloted at Warwick University. But it is a national company, which intends to be rolled out across UK universities.” Warwick University to outsource hourly paid academics to subsidiary on Fighting Against Causalisation in Education.
“My biggest concern as I face down another 25 years or so in this profession is not that I will become disaffected or stalled in my research. It’s whether or not I can convince my fellow tenured colleagues to agree that we not pull the ladder up behind us and abandon the others in the interest of careerist gain.” Tenured and Happy by Cynthia Wu on Inside Higher Ed.
I would like to echo Prof. Emeritus J..D. Wood’s comment on a previous post by adding a ‘bottom up’ perspective on governance and academic freedom. While the faculty has mobilized and raised its voice against the CGI deal, this deal is only the tip of the iceberg of academic governance and freedom. More…