Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Casualization of the Academic Workforce

Get-Up, the graduate employees' union at the University of Pennsylvania, has released a report on the casualization of academic work at Penn. The report shows that graduate employees teach 67% of recitations, while less than 20% are taught by full-time employees. Similarly, 52% of laboratory sections are taught by graduate employees. And in terms of stand-alone class sessions, graduate employees taught 10%, while full-time employees taught about half of class sessions, with tenure-track faculty teaching only 2 out of 5. And this is only counting courses in core academic departments at Penn--not departments in engineering, nursing, business, or continuing education.

Graduate employees are obviously central to the functioning of the university, and the core role of tenure-track faculty is obviously not the instruction of undergraduates. And while this data is not available for NYU, there is no reason to think it is any better.

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