Hiring Contingent Labor

This Chronicle Vitae article, by two assistant deans at the College of DuPage, has some great tips for interviews, especially for those looking for a first position as an adjunct. It appears DuPage is eager to give first-timers all the help they can. As a member of the contingent labor workforce, I’m not sure whether it is good news or bad news that they need two assistant deans to oversee the hiring, supervision and training of adjuncts—perhaps this is the wave of the future. For most departments, hiring has traditionally been at the discretion of department chairs or program directors. With over half of academic faculty now in contingent positions, all universities and colleges may have to re-examine their situation and consider new ways to handle the majority of their faculty members. How is the hiring of contingent faculty members conducted in your institution(s)? Let us know in the comments!


  • I.M. Schur says:

    We currently have no standard appointment or reappointment policy, although we have been fighting to institute one for quite a few years now. Department chairs do not have to consider our years of service as a factor in reappointment. They can hire new people (usually it’s their friends or friends of friends) with less teaching experience who are more willing to work for free or for less in order to get the job. This reinforces a culture of fear among adjunct faculty, especially those who are outspoken, and is a threat to academic freedom.

  • Pamela G Herron says:

    You are so right about the culture of fear that exists among adjuncts and other contingent faculty. We are working on some of these problems at my university but it is a long process requiring yet more work “for free” to make any progress. Thank you for sharing the situation where you work.

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