Publications

"Contingency in Higher Education:  Evidence and Explanation"

by Steven Shulman

Academic Labor: Research and Artistry
Vol. 1 , Article 3
Published online October 2017

Link to article

Abstract:  This paper summarizes recent evidence on the trends in contingency in higher education. Contingent faculty employment, defined as the sum of full-time non-tenure track faculty employment and part-time faculty employment, increased both absolutely and relative to all faculty positions between 2002 and 2015, despite a modest downturn after 2011. The long-term growth of contingency since 2002 has primarily occurred in doctoral degree universities. The short-term decline in contingency since 2011 has primarily occurred in public associates’ degree colleges and in private for-profit colleges. The short-term decline in contingency since 2011 is due to the contraction of the for-profit sector combined with a one-time drop in public associates’ degree colleges. The explanation of the long-term growth of contingency as an inevitable response to financial exigency is rejected. Contingency has increased due to the priorities of higher education administrators, not state budget cuts or other drops in revenue.

 

"The Costs and Benefits of Adjunct Justice: A Critique of Brennan and Magness"

by Steven Shulman

Journal of Business Ethics
Volume 139, No. 1, November 2016
Published online: 21 March 27

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Abstract:  In their controversial 2016 paper in this journal, Brennan and Magness argue that fair pay for part-time, adjunct faculty would be unaffordable for most colleges and universities and would harm students as well as many adjunct faculty members. In this critique, I show that their cost estimates fail to take account of the potential benefits of fair pay for adjunct faculty and are based on implausible assumptions. I propose that pay per course for new adjunct faculty members should be tied to pay per course for new full-time non-tenure track instructors or to pay per course for new assistant professors. That framework for adjunct faculty justice yields an aggregate cost range of $18.5–$27.9 billion, one-third to one-half lower than the range computed by Brennan and Magness. Its opportunity cost would not be borne by students since students and faculty are complements, not substitutes, in the educational process. Instead it could be financed by reducing spending on non-educational purposes. Current adjunct faculty members would be protected from job displacement in this justice framework. The real obstacle to achieving justice for adjunct faculty is the priorities of university administrators, not budget constraints or opportunity costs.

Affective Activism: Answering Institutional Productions of Precarity in the Corporate University

by Janelle AdsitSue DoeMarisa AllisonPaula Maggio and Maria Maisto

Feminist Formations
Volume 27, Issue 3, Winter 2015
pp. 21-48 | 10.1353/ff.2016.0008

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Abstract: Given the context in which precarity is unevenly distributed in today’s corporate university, it is important for women’s studies to consider its role in bringing about higher education policy reform. Reporting on the findings of a national survey of chairs and directors of women’s studies departments, this article suggests strategies for performing “affective activism” within the university through research and action, guided by feminist theory—including collaborative organic theater, institutional discourse analysis, and the drafting of position statements. Drawing from a range of experiential and discursive primary-source materials, the essay suggests strategies and examples for how institutional norms can be made available for interrogation and transformation. In this work, emotion can provide a lens by which to see the institutional situation of women’s studies and its intervention in the new status quo of the corporate university.