Short term gigs the new norm at uni­ver­si­ties

Study of 78 pub­licly funded Cana­dian uni­ver­si­ties shows Canada’s ‘two-tiered sys­tem’ “I’VE COME ACROSS THIS CON­CEPT IN SO­CIAL SCI­ENCE RE­SEARCH ABOUT ‘HOPE LABOUR.’”

StarMetro Halifax - - CANADA - ALEX MCKEEN

VAN­COU­VER—DENEIGE Nadeau loves teach­ing crit­i­cal and cul­tural the­ory at Van­cou­ver’s Emily Carr Univer­sity of Art + De­sign — but she doesn’t know how much longer she’ll be able to af­ford it.

She’s part of the two-thirds ma­jor­ity of in­struc­tors there who are on short-term con­tracts, get­ting paid per course with no guar­an­tee they’ll be able to work again next year. Hav­ing been of­fered only one course to teach each term this year, Nadeau also serves beer to make ends meet.

“I’ve come across this con­cept in so­cial sci­ence re­search about ‘hope labour’ and all the work that some­body does in the hopes that it will lead to some­thing in the fu­ture,” Nadeau said in an in­ter­view with the Star last month.

A re­port re­veals new de­tails about how many univer­sity in­struc­tors in Canada may be in the same sit­u­a­tion — data that un­til now has been a blind spot for re­searchers and ad­vo­cates due to the fact that it’s not re­ported by Sta­tis­tics Canada.

The re­port en­ti­tled Con­tract U comes from the Cana­dian Deneige Nadeau Cen­tre for Pol­icy Al­ter­na­tives, based on Free­dom-ofin­for­ma­tion re­quests with all 78 pub­licly funded Cana­dian uni­ver­si­ties. It shows that more than half of all aca­demic ap­point­ments made by the uni­ver­si­ties that re­sponded to the re­quests weren’t full­time, per­ma­nent, tenure­track jobs but tem­po­rary con­tracts.

A to­tal of 53.6 per cent of gigs of­fered by uni­ver­si­ties in the 2016-17 aca­demic year were on con­tract. About 80 per cent of them were part­time.

Chan­dra Pasma, a post-sec­ondary re­searcher at the Cana­dian Union of Pub­lic Em­ploy­ees who co-au­thored the re­port, said pre­car­i­ous em­ploy­ment has long been a top pri­or­ity of the union.

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