• Reminders

    Important Dates:
    HCAFA Executive Committee Meetings
    Light Meal Served
    At Harper College, Rooms Listed Below
    12:00 - 2:30, L200

    Summer 2017
    • Friday, May 12, 2017
    • Friday, June 9,2017
    • Friday, July 14, 2017
    • Friday, Aug. 11, 2017

    For information or to check if the time or location has been changed, call Hasmig or Amy at the IEA office
    (847 359-0300).

Contingent Faculty and Academic Freedom in the Twenty First Century

Published online: 11 Mar 2015
To cite this article: Stephen A. Smith (2015) Contingent Faculty and Academic Freedom in the Twenty-First Century, First Amendment Studies, 49:1, 27-30, DOI: 10.1080/21689725.2015.1016362

 Contingent Faculty and Academic Freedom in the Twenty-First Century Stephen A. Smith

As we celebrate the centennial of the AAUP’s 1915 Declaration on Academic Freedom and Tenure, those core principles are still essential, but the changing administrative regime of higher education institutions has put them at risk. The dramatic increase in the number and percentage of contingent faculty positions— those on annual or term contracts rather than tenured or tenure-track appoint- ment—undermines academic freedom in teaching, research, and public service. Where academic freedom was once fought and secured against specific charges or external pressures from particular ideological forces, the threat is now more insidious and structural from within the academy as well as outside interests.

It is beyond the scope of this article to detail the forces and circumstances that have led to cuts in public funding for public universities and the growing reliance on private funds with motives and priorities that have often compromised the mission, priorities, and core academic values of the scholarly enterprise of both public and private institutions. The increasingly ubiquitous market-driven education policy and its consequences have been argued quite well by others.   1

The point I wish to address is the seismic shift to contingent faculty and the stagnant or reduced number of tenure and tenure-track faculty. The argument is always economic exigence rather than any claim that it improves the quality of education. Administrators resist approving tenure track lines to save money by hiring contingent faculty with lower salaries and reduced benefits. At the same time, this alleged policy of scrimping has done nothing to slow the growth of the number of administrators and their salaries, an obvious point without mentioning the salaries and contracts of athletic coaches. Only faculty salaries and positions seem to be fodder in the losing battle to hold down the cost of tuition and fees for our students.

Contingent appointments have comprised a majority of all faculty positions for more than a decade. While adjuncts, lecturers, instructors, post-docs, and visiting faculty members are valuable, even essential, they are not particularly valued by

For the entire article, click on the link below.

First Amendment Studies, 2015
Vol. 49, No. 1, 27–30, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21689725.2015.1016362

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