Surveying the field

Brad WalchukGeneral

A couple of months ago I told you about an upcoming survey of Contract Faculty. This is an important project since Stats Canada, for instance, stopped collecting data on these workers in the mid-1990s. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that data collection stopped just as universities, especially in Ontario, decided on faculty non-renewal policies and turned to contract workers instead. CAUT is only now including them in their surveys. They can’t be blamed for an oversight because only two locals from CUPE have been allowed to affiliate with CAUT and the faculty associations that include contract workers typically only worry about tenure-track postings. Our own MUFA can be held as a shining example. They fiddled away when CLAs were cut to the sound of promises of tenure-stream hires even as the last provost announced a moratorium on such hires.

So, CUPE research and members from York, Athabasca, Carleton began compiling a survey to be released nationally to finally track the workload, the distances travelled, the number of locations worked, etc, of Contract Faculty. In short, the goal is to compile a thorough statistical picture of the day-to-day issues facing these workers. The questions for the web-based survey have been developed but these need to be tested. What we are looking for are members who are not necessarily union activists but are still interested in sharing their experiences as contract faculty.

If you fit those criteria, please contact me and I’ll forward you the link for the beta version of the survey.