MLA 2020 CFP: “The Valuation of the 73%: Contingent Faculty Work and Access to Academic Freedom”

2020 MLA CFP:

“The Valuation of the 73%:

Contingent Faculty Work and Access to Academic Freedom”

Conference: Modern Language Association Convention

Location: Seattle, Washington

Dates: 09–12 January 2020

Full name of sponsoring MLA committees: the Committee on Academic Freedom and Professional Rights & Responsibilities (CAFPRR) and the Committee on Contingent Labor in the Profession (CCLiP)

Contact emails: <h-colburn@northwestern.eduand wbrown@midland.edu

Due date for abstracts: 01 March 2019

Call for papers/abstracts:

The MLA’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Professional Rights & Responsibilities (CAFPRR) and the Committee on Contingent Labor in the Profession (CCLiP) are collaborating to propose a roundtable at the 2020 Convention in Seattle titled “The Valuation of the 73%: Contingent Faculty Work and Access to Academic Freedom.” As the AAUP’s recent study shows, non-tenure-track faculty positions now comprise 73% of all faculty positions nationwide, with tenure-stream faculty only representing one third of the faculty “at research-intensive and other four-year institutions” and “less than 20 percent of faculty positions at two-year institutions” (Flaherty, par. 4).

These data offer a fascinating context for discussion of how the work of this vast majority of faculty positions is valued; indeed, if/how our institutions value our work as contingent faculty directly relates to the role(s) that we play in the institution itself. For example, if a teaching-focused institution values highly the work of its faculty, then it would be logical for those faculty members to be considered active and full participants in the institution and its governance; likewise, the institution would recognize the importance of ensuring academic freedom in the classroom for this group of highly-valued faculty. What seems to be the general case, however, is that contingent faculty are not incorporated into faculty governance, nor offered assurances/protection of academic freedom and/or other rights accorded to the small percentage of tenure-stream faculty.

In this panel, we aim to explore several critical questions:

  • How do institutions value the work of the majority of their faculty?
  • What would equitable rights/responsibilities in institutional governance look like for contingent faculty, especially for part-time faculty?
  • Given institutional (de)valuation of their work, can contingent faculty truly access academic freedom?
  • How do tenure-track faculty value the work of contingent faculty?
  • What role does tenure stream valuation of contingent faculty work play in departmental/school governance?
  • How does the valuation of contingent faculty affect academic freedom?
  • Are there strategies/practices for leveraging valuation of contingent faculty work in order to ensure robust institutional protection and participation?
  • How do we talk with our students about contingent faculty work and the ways it’s (de)valued at our institutions?
  • Are there strategies for increasing valuation of contingent faculty by the government and accrediting bodies that influence higher education?

Submission: By 01 March 2019, submit a 300-word abstract, including references, for a 15-minute presentation to the following two organizers: Heather L. Colburn at <h-colburn@northwestern.eduand William Christopher Brown at <wbrown@midland.edu>. Selections will be made through blind review. All identifying information should be removed from submissions.

Required memberships: To participate in this panel, all participants must be members of the Modern Language Association by 07 April 2019.

Works Cited

Flaherty, Colleen. “A Non-Tenure-Track Profession?” Inside Higher Ed, 12 October 2018, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/10/12/about-three-quarters-all-faculty-positions-are-tenure-track-according-new-aaup.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.