Higher education faces a crisis of casualization. At many institutions, particularly community colleges, temporary appointments outnumber permanent positions and tenure is disappearing. Now the assault on tenure and the turn towards part-time and contingent employment is reaching the research universities. Sadly, the University of Washington is leading this dangerous trend.
Currently, less than half of UW faculty (41%) are tenured or in tenure-track positions. The majority hold WOT, research faculty, lecturer, or teaching associate positions. The growing number of lecturers and teaching associates, many of them part-time and lacking even the most modest protections, is particularly alarming. AAUP has noted recent incidents where lecturers have been dismissed without warning just as classes were about to begin. Equally alarming, there have been incidents where lecturers have been afraid to exercise academic judgment and free speech.
AAUP believes that excessive use of, and inadequate compensation and professional support for, part-time and non- tenure-track faculty exploits these colleagues and undermines academic freedom, academic quality, and professional standards.
Here are national AAUP's guidelines on Part-Time and Non-Tenure-Track Faculty
UW-AAUP has been monitoring the shift towards contingent and untenured faculty employment at the University of Washington and other Washington colleges and universities. Below is a brief statement by Prof. Dan Jacoby discussing the issue and also a detailed report that he prepared on the use of part-time faculty in the community colleges and four-year institutions and of the efforts by the Washington Association of Part-time Faculty to improve conditions of employment.
Some other reports:
Lecturers' nightmare (10/7/02)
Report Details Colleges' Heavy Reliance on Part-Time Instructors/ by Ana Marie Cox