Contract academic staff subject of fair employment discussion

Canadian universities’ growing dependency on limited term and part-time instructors—and the precarious conditions of this employment—will be the subject of a free public event on campus Wednesday, October 29.

“Seeing the Invisible Academic” is sponsored by the Windsor University Faculty Association and the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance as part of national Fair Employment Week, an annual campaign by the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

Windsor’s event will feature a screening of the 2014 documentary Class Struggle and a panel of contract and non-contract UWindsor academics providing an overview of the situation in Canada and discussing the wide reaching implications of casualized academic labour.

“The primary aim is to cultivate public awareness of the issue and to begin to advance genuine equity and inclusivity for all scholars within the Canadian university system,” says organizer Frances Cachon, a sessional instructor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology.

“Despite the diversity of names given to contract academic staff: limited term, sessional, part-time, adjunct, contingent, their working conditions are uniformly precarious,” she says. “They have little to no job security, their scholarly contributions to their universities often go unrecognized, and the students they teach are normally unaware of the inherent challenges of their employment.”

Dr. Cachon says that Canadian universities are increasingly reliant on precarious professors to teach undergraduates—a situation she calls “ethically and structurally untenable.”

Wednesday’s event begins at 1 p.m. in the CAW Student Centre’s Ambassador Auditorium, salon A.