Daily Archives: September 8, 2014

A hard cold truth about teaching and teachers at Canadian universities

An article I (Yiola) came across on Canadian news, the CBC.


The increasing numbers of contract employees in academia is not new. We have known for quite some time that many faculty members, usually teaching faculty, have part-time contract positions.

The organizational process to hire well-qualified academic faculty as part-time and contract employees is complex and has many implications:

– funding: it seems universities receive little funding for the renewal or development of permanent or tenure stream faculty and other resources

– work/life conditions for contract faculty:  the article describes the challenges contract faculty experience both at work and in their personal lives (low wages, job instability, heavy workloads)

– culture/work environment: the tensions between tenure and non-tenure, permanent and contract, faculty

– quality of teaching: with the aforementioned stresses placed on teaching and teachers at the university, is there an effect on the quality of teaching?

Clare and Clive have explored and written on the topic. For example:

Kosnik, C., & Beck, C. (2008). In the shadows: Non-tenure-line instructors in preservice teacher education. European Journal of Teacher Education, 31(2), 185-202.

Beck, C., & Kosnik, C. (2003). Contract staff in preservice teacher education. Teaching Education, 14(2), 187-200.

The article speak to all faculties and departments across the university. This holds true for teacher education as well. Upon reading the article and listening to the interview http://www.cbc.ca/news/class-struggle-1.2756899   I cannot help but feel sad for the state of teaching and learning at the University level.  University teachers deserve better… students deserve better.