Tuesday, May 12, 2009

AFT Report Details and Reaffirms Exploitation of Contingent Labor

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has released American Academic: The State of the Higher Education Workforce 1997-2007.

The report is a 10-year analysis of hiring trends and faculty composition at community colleges and public and private colleges/universities. The findings show accelerated erosion of stable faculty positions with respectable wages and working conditions. AFT's report also shows that the trend of exploitation continues when it comes to "contingent" labor and graduate teaching assistants. Individuals within the academy that were interviewed about the report's findings, from my perusal of early reporting, seem to lay blame on market forces. To that I say, of course BUT individual departments and schools have allowed this to happen AND have even embraced this exploitation to protect the privileges of the already highly paid and tenured who enjoy low(er) teaching loads and academic freedom. This lowers the quality of intellectual exploration and education, as the bulk of the courses taught are done so by contingent labor. It is disgusting to see those in a position to take a stand simply step aside; and, in many cases, to witness the eagerness of continued hocking of bogus goods to graduate students and the nontenured by way of false hopes and promises.

By not owning the consequences of silence and hypocrisy the tenured and tenure-track are killing the academy and its promise. You know who you are.

Here's a great chart, from InsideHigherEd's synopsis of the report, with some key figures.

Distribution of Teaching Positions in Higher Education, 1997 and 2007

Job Type 1997 2007
All Institutions

--Full time, tenured or tenure track 33.1% 27.3%
--Full time, non-tenure track 14.2% 14.9%
--Part time 34.1% 36.9%
--Graduate assistants 18.6% 20.9%
Public doctoral granting universities

--Full time, tenured or tenure track 34.1% 28.9%
--Full time, non-tenure track 14.1% 14.4%
--Part time 14.3% 15.8%
--Graduate assistants 37.5% 41.0%
Public four-year colleges and universities

--Full time, tenured or tenure track 51.0% 39.0%
--Full time, non-tenure track 9.0% 10.9%
--Part time 33.6% 43.9%
--Graduate assistants 5.7% 6.3%
Public community colleges

--Full time, tenured or tenure track 20.6% 17.5%
--Full time, non-tenure track 13.4% 13.8%
--Part time 64.7% 68.6%
--Graduate assistants 1.2% 0.0%
Private doctoral-granting universities

--Full time, tenured or tenure track 34.9% 29.2%
--Full time, non-tenure track 17.3% 17.9%
--Part time 29.9% 31.3%
--Graduate assistants 17.9% 21.6%
Private four-year colleges and universities

--Full time, tenured or tenure track 39.3% 29%
--Full time, non-tenure track 15.6% 17.2%
--Part time 42.3% 52.2%
--Graduate assistants 2.9% 1.6%


KRGP said...

Hey HT--I just blogged on this too! Looking at these numbers I see yet another reason why TT faculty are so loathe to grant greater power to NTT--they're woefully outnumbered. Wow.

Anonymous said...

yep, it would/will take a lot of courage to turn this thing around, especially in the humanities.