Last updated on August 30th, 2019 at 10:06 am
This was a post I found in my drafts folder … written back in 2015. I wonder why I didn’t ever get around to finishing it?
When Jeffrey Keefer and I first proposed this presentation for the #dlrn15 conference, we were both in very different situations then we are today. I was off on medical leave. I was completely unaffiliated. Jeffrey was employed full time and teaching part time.
Since then, I began teaching a course for uMass-Boston. Jeffrey’s status changed too, but that is his story to tell, not mine. I am about to be multi-affiliated as I go back to my PhD studies in Ottawa Canada. At the conference whenever someone asked about what I do or which school I was from, it all became very complicated. See slide 2! I study in Ottawa Canada, teach in Boston Massachusetts, and I live in Santa Clara California. I’m a networked scholar and online lecturer, which means I can live anywhere and teach anywhere – except that isn’t really true. I can only work while I have a valid US Work Visa – which luckily enough means that I can work anywhere in the US or Canada.
One of the questions I was asked was “what is the one thing administrators can do to improve the situation for adjuncts?” It was a good question and allowed me to see the problem from a solutions perspective. My immediate reply was to plan out teaching loads early. In my mind, there is no good excuse for waiting until the last minute to issue contracts. Students hate waiting until the last minute to sign up for courses – they need to plan their lives too. Administrators can ensure that course calendars require that students sign up for classes well in advance. Signing up in advance then allows institutions to do a better of of allocated teaching resources, and also allows institutions to issue contracts in a more timely fashion. Last minute contracts are exceedingly stressful for those who are trying to make a reasonable living as a contingent (or part-time) lecturer.