Skip to main content

Sessionals, up close

Sessional instructors are now a crucial part of the teaching equation at most Canadian universities. Some say it’s time to include them more fully in the life of the institution.

by Moira MacDonald

sessional_lecturers_448x200

They are called sessional lecturers, part-time instructors, contract or contingent faculty and chargés de cours. Some are fresh out of graduate studies, others may have taught for years. Whatever their name, these non-tenured, non-permanent teaching staff share a common desire for better recognition, pay and treatment that more closely resembles how institutions treat full-time faculty.

book_icon_210x100
A sampling from a range of institutions on the pay, benefits and other work-related conditions for sessional lecturers. Download the chart (PDF)

University Affairs has assembled a sampling of what the pay, benefits, job security and other key work-related conditions look like for sessionals at a range of small, medium and large Canadian postsecondary institutions. Most were randomly chosen, while ensuring geographic representation. York University and University of Toronto were deliberately picked because they have a reputation among sessional teachers and with faculty associations for some of the best contracts for sessionals in the country. Vancouver Community College, which is neither a university nor a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, is included (in a separate chart) because its contract with sessional staff has been described as the “gold standard” by the New Faculty Majority, a group of academics in the U.S. that has organized to improve the working conditions of sessionals in that country.

In the charts, salary scales presented are base rates; various academic departments may have their own arrangements for compensating contingent faculty. And, although universities employ a host of different kinds of non-permanent academic staff – including graduate students who may use sessional teaching as a way to gain experience – these charts focus on the teaching members who are no longer students and who teach on a course-by-course basis.

Pay is always a factor and, as our charts show, there is a wide range. But as important a benchmark as it is, it may not be the top job concern.

“The biggest one is job security. Its absence is profound,” says Leslie Jermyn, chair of the contract academic staff committee for the Canadian Association of University Teachers. She currently works on a 24-month, contractually limited appointment, teaching three full courses a year at York. A sessional teacher since 1993, Dr. Jermyn began teaching two years before finishing her PhD.

Her career is emblematic of a way of life. What once was a stepping stone for a PhD en route to a full-time, tenure-track appointment – or an interesting way to use a master’s degree – has become, for many, a way to earn a living. Some teach at more than one institution and in more than one city. To be sure, there are also those who do the job as a complement to full-time work in their fields, including business people, lawyers and civil servants.

sessionals_210x100
The Latest Research
An American research project called the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success is being led by Adrianna Kezar of the University of Southern California. Read Dr. Kezar’s views about the latest research on contingent faculty.

Job insecurity

For those who hold a PhD, the difficulty in securing tenure-track jobs compounds the problem. While universities sometimes agree to seniority provisions that give an experienced sessional a leg up the next time a course they’ve already taught is posted – often called the “right of first refusal” – the reality for many is having to reapply every term for a course they may have taught for years. Often they don’t know with any certainty from one semester to the next whether they’ll have a contract at all.

“I’ve been called on a Thursday and told I’ll be teaching a full course starting on Tuesday,” says Janice McKendrick, a sessional instructor at the University of Prince Edward Island since 2008 who is taking a break this year due to family responsibilities. “You’re always watching for application deadlines to make sure you get in, not knowing if you’ll get the job or not.”

Many work without access to employer benefit plans. If they fall ill for more than a week, they may lose the job entirely. Pre-term preparation time is usually not fully compensated, if at all. Temporary unemployment between semesters is typical.

“If the courses I teach aren’t being offered anymore, or if I became sick, or if I decide to walk away,” says Jennifer Dimoff, “I walk away with nothing.” Ms. Dimoff is president of CUPE 3912, representing about 1,500 part-time faculty at Dalhousie, Mount St. Vincent and Saint Mary’s universities in Halifax. She has taught courses in religious studies and philosophy for 14 years.

Some might say take it or leave it – sessional work was never intended to be a full-time living, and it does not include the research or service expectations of tenured positions, so it deserves to be less well compensated than tenured positions. And that is true.

What that sidesteps is how dependent universities have become on sessional instructors’ services and how their use may affect the life of the institution.

No one we talked to for this article knew of any consistent tracking of sessional use across the country. Some faculty associations are keeping track of the proportion of sessionals to regular faculty: at the University of Calgary, for example, the 529 sessional instructors represent 23 percent of the faculty workforce. But the union doesn’t know what proportion of courses are taught by sessional instructors. In Ontario, the recent Auditor General’s Report (which reviewed how three universities support and assess the quality of undergraduate teaching) noted that at one institution, sessional staff “accounted for 24 percent of full-time equivalent staff and were responsible for teaching approximately 40 percent of its courses.”

In the United States, which does collect some statistics, one-third of faculty at four-year colleges and universities are contract workers, according to 2011 data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Some observers in Canada say that the overall proportion in Canada is probably similar.

For the 10 institutions featured in this story, the numbers of non-student sessional teachers, as provided by their bargaining unit, ranged from 177 at the University of Winnipeg to about 1,000 at York University. Because the universities include different categories of contract faculty and the figures aren’t all comparable, these numbers aren’t provided in the charts.

A funding problem

Richard Sigurdson, dean of arts at the University of Calgary, agrees that there is a “documented increase” across North America, and beyond, in the reliance by universities and colleges on non-permanent academic staff. Sessional instructors represent a cheaper and more flexible labour pool when universities are straining to adapt to changing needs under tight budgets. “There is no secret here that it is directly related to the decline in funding,” as well as the rise in enrolments, says Dr. Sigurdson.

Although the position of sessional instructors is still “precarious,” Dr. Sigurdson believes their working conditions have improved in recent years, simply because their growing numbers give them more clout and thus make university administrators more aware of the employment challenges that these workers face.

Bonnie Patterson, president of the Council of Ontario Universities, says sessional instructors “play an incredibly important role for us in terms of our responsiveness to student demands and the fluctuations that occur in various areas of study as they change over time.”

There’s no doubt, she says, that some institutions are using sessionals “as a pretty important part of their financial strategy.” But “equally important, this is also a way of getting the right human resources in the right places, given the kind of change that can occur, and trying to balance the multiple responsibilities of the permanent, core faculty members.”

So the institutions need them. And, an important academic staff group that is unhappy with its lot eventually influences the tone of the university. “If nothing else, it’s a real morale problem” says Doug Owram, former deputy vice-chancellor of the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Surveys at UBC Okanagan showed sessionals were the staff group with the lowest morale because of their lack of job security, he says.

A host of potential solutions have been proposed, from multi-year teaching contracts to teaching-only positions. The better contracts for sessionals provide access to funds for professional development and even grants for research, something sessionals complain is hard to do without university support.

Teaching-only positions, as a remedy for the job-security complaint, remain controversial. How desirable they are depends on how these positions are structured. At York University, “alternate stream” full-time positions are tenured, focused on teaching and pay about 10 percent less than regular faculty positions. But Ms. Dimoff, in Halifax, says she considered a lecturer position whose job security and benefits were appealing, but decided that teaching 10 three-credit courses a year for $60,000 was a recipe for “a burnout job.”

From the university’s point of view, quality control is an issue. And one barrier to offering improved job security for sessionals may be the university’s concern that it could get stuck with a bad lecturer.

But the solution to that is to set the bar high at the beginning, says Frank Cosco, president of the faculty association at Vancouver Community College. The institution can mandate a probation period and rigorous evaluation throughout it, so that it hires teachers it can feel confident about. VCC has “stringent hiring committees that are dominated by faculty,” says Mr. Cosco. “We know there has to be a trade-off: if you want job security, you have to show you’re going to get quality teaching.”

Exemplary contract

At VCC, as few distinctions as possible are made between part-time and full-time instructors. Tiered systems of pay and benefits are almost non-existent. If instructors teach less than a full-time load, their pay is pro-rated against a full-time salary. Those teaching half-time (defined as a minimum of 12.5 hours of assigned work, including service) also receive benefits and become “regularized” as permanent staff after satisfactory completion of a probationary period of two to four years.

The pay-off to the institution, says Mr. Cosco, is that “people are focused on their work” instead of what their next job scramble will be. “That builds a better sense of commitment to the college and to the department.” Of course, colleges are not the same environments as universities. Full-time college faculty aren’t expected to do research, making it easier to find ways to put part-timers on par with full-timers.

But there still may be ways universities can improve things for sessionals, and some of these cost little to nothing at all. “The biggest need is just a change in attitude,” says Trevor Tucker, a sessional instructor in English for the last 10 years at the University of Ottawa.

Mr. Tucker compiled a list of ideas for making sessional instructors feel like valued members of the university community. “The need for connection to the university,” says Mr. Tucker, “may be a bigger issue than the pay issue.”

His suggestions for alleviating the “teach-and-leave” sessional syndrome include offering training and mentoring in teaching, with some of the training given by senior members of a department. Another recommendation is to allow sessional instructors to pitch ideas about new courses they believe would be of interest to students and potentially to teach them, too. Creating some office space for them, together in one area and close to regular faculty, could improve collegiality and intellectual interaction.

“There is no attention to this vast resource” known as sessionals, says Mr. Tucker. “And it could hugely benefit the institution.”

Meanwhile, U of Calgary dean Dr. Sigurdson suggests that launching teaching awards specifically for sessional instructors could have at least two positive results: they would create incentives for sessionals and recognize their value to the university. The University of Manitoba, where he previously worked, is one university that offers such awards.

Another idea is to include sessionals in departmental meetings or have designated sessional representation on committees (although where this has happened, sessionals aren’t always paid for their time).

In the U.S., some tenured faculty have taken on the cause of contract teachers. One of the most prominent is the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success, a research project led by Adrianna Kezar, associate professor of education at the University of Southern California.

“Few institutions have developed policies and practices to support non-tenure-track faculty members or include them more completely in the life of our campuses,” wrote Dr. Kezar and two co-researchers in an essay for the online publication Inside Higher Ed this past fall. It’s a situation, they said, that cannot continue if universities and colleges expect to improve the quality of student learning.

With universities so dependent now on sessional teaching, even in Canada, can they really afford to lose experienced sessional teachers who are finding their work situations untenable? “What we end up losing,” says Ms. McKendrick, the sessional teacher from UPEI, “are very good teachers who would like to stay in the profession and yet can’t manage the conditions.”

Moira MacDonald is a journalist who specializes in education and writes often for University Affairs. She has been working as a teaching assistant in Ryerson University’s journalism school for the past three years.

Print Comments (14) Post a comment
Email Reprint Share Share

Comments on this Article

Thanks for encouraging open critical thinking. Following is based on my true experiences in the Fraser Valley Teacher Education departments, BC.
Point 1: Truth is, hiring of the sessional Instructors changes like a tide with the coming and going of department heads and deans. If there is a new department head and that department head needs to do a favour to someone they know, they will find every excuse to not hire a senior sessional instructor that is already there, some of these excuses are: harassing sessional instructor about his/her teaching; (even though the department head may just have Masters degree and the sessional has PhD and sessional has been in the department years before the department head got there) or saying the course will not be offered then offering it at a different time to a new sessional or just going ahead and hiring a new sessional instructor for some sections the previous instructor taught.
Point 2: I can not speak for other departments, but it is truly a shame that this kind of bullying is happening in teacher education departments- especially, when they are the ones who are supposed to be teaching bullying prevention on the first place!!!

Posted by Dr. Sessional, Dec 31, 2013 2:16 AM

I've worked at a small to middle sized western Canadian university for several years and had several more years lecturing in Ontario and Quebec before that. Each institution presents unique challenges and opportunities, the main challenges I and others face at my current institution are [a] we are often contracted to teach several courses, any of which however might be cancelled due to low enrollments -- the precise number of students required to avoid cancellation varies from year to year. This allows the university to offer student a wider range of course selection, but also means that sessionals like myself who have committed to teach these courses are left high and dry if courses get cancelled. [b] recent provincial cuts to education have led our administration to cut most regular session sessional positions, as such we are put in the unenviable position of having to compete for a smaller number of evening courses offered through continuing education. This unfortunately means that none of us are now on campus during the day-time and have little connection to the departments in which we work. The collegial aspect of the job is almost non-existent. [c] finally, the emphasis on offering only courses the fill up seats means that we have fewer opportunities to lecture in our own areas of expertise. In many smaller universities, this expertise helps round out a department where specialized faculty interests do not cover the full range of subject matter within an academic discipline. It also enhances our sense of making a meaningful contribution to the departments in which we work.

The department I work in is among the better ones in that sessionals are encouraged and have been offered many opportunities to proposes and teach new courses, we do have representation on various committees, and are made to feel that we are part of the department. The main issue is with the funding of sessional positions on the part of the administration, decisions that sessionals are absolutely powerless to influence.

Posted by J.M. MacKinnon, Apr 10, 2013 10:45 AM

The situation is very similar in the UK where I've just come from. It's really hard...you put so much into teaching the students, they enjoy your courses and get motivated to study more...but you can't supervise them on their next project, because you're not a permanent member of staff, and you're constantly feeling like an "outsider". Plus, of course, there is the constant worrying about "where the next job is coming from"...I haven't even managed to find anything yet since coming to Canada. I expect I will eventually, but it's very likely to be with similar terms and conditions to the UK.

At least articles like these make you realise so many other people are in the same situation and it's not because you aren't good enough...we are probably "too good" as teachers!


Posted by Satori, Jan 16, 2013 1:04 AM

After teaching 3 years as a sessional instructor I resonate with this article. There is not a single tenure-track professor who can grasp the stress created with not knowing what the next semester of employment will (and will not) bring...who can grasp the idea that sessional teaching is one of the only ways to "stay in the game" and yet watch his/her colleague teach 2 classes PER YEAR, get research time, an office, funding for conference, permission to use REB, courses that are in their specialties...and a voice.

The university system is going to collapse. Greedy self-centered faculty who "take care of their own" will one day see the brutal system they either support or stand quietly beside.

The worst part is - the biggest losers are the students.... They get tenure-track faculty who could care less about teaching or the students' development, they are bored to death in class by faculty who do as little prep work as possible for their courses (why would they...it takes away from their research time?!?)...

There's so much conversation around undergrads being of the Entitlement Generation - yet, maybe tenure-track and tenured faculty should take a serious look in the mirror and ask if they are supporting a system that treats its sessional faculty - with PhDs - worse than that which happens at Walmart.

I hope the system collapses and people keep speaking out. Thank you for this article. It has been a very lonely 3 years.

Posted by a generation of entitlement, Jan 15, 2013 9:55 AM

Really appreciate UA's coverage: a few points in response.

Point 1: The PhD system rarely presents "sessional" as an outcome let alone as an increasingly likely an outcome of PhD studies. Under explored, is the relationship of PhD mentoring and ‘sessionality’ as a career outcomes…One could ask how many sessionals are out there that had ill funded, rocky support structures for the PhD process, or survived large battles in their faculties and universities. 
One could inquire as to how many sessionals are from both ill funded, contested programs and also members of marginalized groups as well? How is ‘sessionality’ contributing to glass ceilings?


Point 2: It is really a multi-tier system that is now in place in university faculty structures: tenure track, grad students and varied kinds of sessionals: Examples of kinds: Sessional A someone for whom this income the only source of income (how many sessionals are single, or single supporters of families?) Sessional B is someone for whom this sessional post is supplemental to a viable base income creating perhaps a less desperate scenario (for example in education many sessionals may be early retired teachers); Sessional C is someone who has to survive by moving around to varied sessional posts - and bearing the costs of transitions, reorientations and moving in their career. Sessional E is someone who is teaching in vulnerable subject areas (such as diversity – where students transfer hostility towards subject on to teachers). The point is that the sessional world does favor some and marginalize others – Do these patterns of marginalization, reify around those who were vulnerable already? Are we are creating not just an inequitable system but a systematic (often) invisible poverty in the PhD world? Can PhD’s just get other kinds of jobs and matriculate easily into other career paths when the sessional world backfires on them?

Point 3: I want to underline the article’s emphasis on evaluation: For staff, tenured faculty, students and admin, the university has often developed clear structures of evaluation that allow recourse and improvement channels to the employee: For sessionals the evaluation structures are rarely clear, often haphazard - often based on what in other career paths would be called word of mouth circuits (and I would argue the student evaluations unmatched by other responsibly implemented evaluation structures – does function as these – any one who argues otherwise deserves to be evaluated by students only and not their peers) -Thus recourse becomes an increasingly rigid need for unions and system of seniority. Students are often unaware of fragilities and irregularities surround these posts: they are often left unwares of their effect through evaluations on a sessional’s rehiring – they are also left to think in evaluating professors they are evaluating structures of relatively equitable power. Under aware of sessionals vulnerable circumstance, students are also often made hyper-aware of any union interventions on behalf of sessionals.

Point 4: Sessionals are often operating in systems where connections to a human (in an now online world) are either absent or fragile – it is often the case that they rarely see faculty. Students rarely imagine how disconnected sessionals are from faculty processes. Sessionals are often thus highly dependent on staff. These staff may (or may not) offer sessionals human connection, orientation, correct guidance, fair reputations - and even jobs…but they may also be themselves disconnected, subject to winds of changing information, changing roles and positions – as such they may or may not operating with accurate connections to the vision and the goals of a department or faculty.

Posted by Retired Faculty, Jan 14, 2013 9:03 AM

This is a wonderful article.

1. As an American adjunct from Washington state, I have admired Vancouver Community College workplace for over a decade and believe that it should be held up as the model to be emulated in the United States. One note: while VCC does deserve recognition for its treatment of faculty, I believe many of the same workplace provisions, such as a single pay scale, regularization, are in place at other BC institutions whose faculty are represented by the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of British Columbia.

2. I was also very pleased to read Leslie Jermyn's affirmation that the key issue is job security. As an American contingent, I agree. Part of our problem in the U.S. is that we activists don't have a single clear goal to reform our dysfunctional bifurcated system. I think job security, as the antithesis of contingency, should be the goal and agree with Leslie that "Its absence is profound.” As a goal, one advantage job security offers is that it does not make a major budget impact.

3. One feature about Vancouver Community College is its system of seniority, accrued by both full-time and part-time instructors, and at VCC, there are part-timer who hold more seniority than full-timers, which is unheard of in the U.S. U.S. contingents rarely accrue meaningful seniority.

4. Frank Cosco mentions the "trade-off" between the VCC approach of scrutiny of instructors during the probationary stages of their employment and job security. A thorough review of new faculty does ease doubts about conferring the job security that regularization offers. It also reflects that concern for quality is more than rhetoric.

Once again, thank you for this piece.

Jack Longmate
Adjunct English Instructor
Olympic College, Bremerton, Washington

Posted by Jack Longmate, Jan 11, 2013 8:55 AM

Great discussion.

But I don't buy the notion that lecturers who are not actively researching/publishing will not be effective teachers in the long term. Having long experience as a sessional and exposure to many departments (in the social sciences), I've seen little evidence of a strong link between research and pedagogical effectiveness. In fact, let's be honest. Often the research "stars" couldn't care less about undergraduate teaching. Hopefully, more permanent "teaching track" positions will emerge and offer some stability to some of these teaching "stars" languishing in precarious circumstances.

Posted by Academic Serf, Jan 9, 2013 10:34 PM

I agree with Dr. Doinglittle in his comments that current faculty have contributed greatly to this problem. Add to that the Faustian bargain universities struck to increase public funding in exchange for greater credentialization to the general population (HMV now requires applicants to be taking or to have taken a bachelors degree) and we are now seeing many of these institutions beginning to fail under the weight of contradictory roles they offered to play.

One idea I'd like to see nixed outright is the teaching position with review by department faculty as suggested earlier in the article. Given the often hostile relationship between sessional staff and full time faculty I have experienced the last person I would allow to review my teaching would be someone from inside a department I was contracted to work for.

Currently one of the Universities I teach at sessionaly is considering moving to a teaching assessment model away from right of first refusal. I have told my Union that I will require a rep to be present if a member of faculty is allowed to sit in on my class. I would have less trouble if the person was faculty from outside the department and I would have very little concern if administration wished to do the review but allowing full time faculty to perform such a review would be disastrous for many many sessionals due to the intense departmental politics that occurs.

Finally in response to sessional, teaching is not like being a grad student. Frankly grad students should not be allowed to teach at any level as they are unqualified for the role. If qualifications mean anything then allowing someone who has only completed a masters to get up in front of a class and pretend that they are competent to be there is ridiculous.

By your logic sessionals should all be inexperienced or under experienced in course development, marking, lecture preparation and delivery when they stand up in front of a class of 30 to 200 students? Because the experience is what turns good teachers into excellent ones. How does this strategy help improve the quality of education? This problem has been created by the dual issues of ever increasing faculty pay paired with tenure which eliminated workforce flexibility. Ultimately blaming the lowest remunerated least protected members of the profession for a problem they didn't create and can't change is rather unpleasant.

Posted by J Hare, Jan 9, 2013 7:41 PM

Thanks for reopening the discussion on contract labour (labour casualization) and sessional dependence in Canadian universities. I was left with the impression that the article didn't fully engage the question of why we continue to mis-use this employment category and the people in it. My strong feeling is that sessional labour is appropriate for 1) short-term employment of our recent graduates, 2) professionals who moonlight and who provide needed curricular enrichment, 3) those circumstances where we truly need temporary and flexible labour. Beyond that, our universities have become overly dependent on sessional labour for all the wrong reasons (typically budgetary). We need to re-examine this, develop more flexible instructional categories (with benefits and increased security and predictability; i.e. tenured teaching stream professors and longer-term instructors) and essentially do away with the widespread exploitation of sessionals. So my preference would be to direct the needed budgetary resources (and yes, this will entail sacrifices) to produce a committed and secure instructional workforce, rather than assuming that sessional dependence is permanent and that it therefore requires that we put band-aids on what was essentially a misplaced strategy to begin with.

Posted by Gage Averill, Jan 9, 2013 2:11 PM

Kudos to UA for posting this. That said, I find it odd that they would report on the pay rates for half year courses when most sessional contracts - at least from my experience - are for one-term courses. These pay half the figures listed and it's pretty rare to see sessionals get more than 4 of these a year. Do the math and you're about as well off working at Futureshop.

Also, let's not gloss over the fact that current faculty bear a lot of responsibility for creating this mess. The overproduction of graduates and the overall exclusion of sessionals in faculty associations and collective bargaining, have created an abundance of cheap labour. The bottom line is that freshly-minted grads can and will do the same work for less than half the price of faculty, who have failed to demonstrate their worth, or that of the tenure system, amid these changes. In short, university budgets have been cut because there was ample room to cut them due to imbalances in supply/demand.

Regardless, the evidence here reveals just how pointless it is to pursue a PhD in hope of becoming a professor.

Posted by Dr.Doinglittle, Jan 9, 2013 1:49 PM

I'd like to point out an error in this article. The number of contract academics in the US is not one-third of the faculty, but rather only one-third of faculty has tenure; meaning two-thirds are contract workers.

Posted by Sandra Hoenle, Jan 9, 2013 1:44 PM

Although it is nice to see more and more articles that address this issue in a variety of publications, I still find that even the terms of the discussion betray a failure to fully appreciate the circumstances facing sessionals.
To begin with, the term "part-time", when applied to sessionals who teach more than 4 half-courses a year, does not accurately describe the work experiences of these professors. Most of my sessional colleagues (with the exception of those who teach a course "here and there" to supplement another job or who teach fewer courses in order to accomdate children) work full-time, handling a course load that for most permament faculty members would be considered "over load." Moreover, these colleagues need to teach twice as many courses as the permanent faculty at most universities in order to earn similar amounts of money. These people are most definitely working full-time when they are lucky enough to be employed.
Another important part of the whole picture is that many of these sessional professors are trying to continue to do their research and publish in order to remain competitive in a market that has seen a severe reduction in tenure-track appointments in the past decade (one of the important reasons for the unviersities' reliance on sessional faculty).
I can not count the times that my students have told me (at several insititutions)that the most communciative, effective and dedicated professors they have had are sessionals. There is no argument that could be made to suggest that a sessional professor, engaged in her field and pursuing her research, is a threat to teaching quality. However, there always remains the concern that if sessionals are unable to pursue research goals they will abandon them and eventually find themselves teaching concepts, methodologies and theories that are out-dated. Such a scenario would compromise the purpose of university instruction.

Posted by Daphne Bonar, Jan 9, 2013 1:13 PM

Another issue not raised here is the effect of an increased use of sessional lecturers (I am one) on students. Since completing my PhD, I have been teaching at a university where the teaching staff is approximately 95% sessional lecturers, at least in my department. Many of my students follow me from course to course, but this continuity of mentorship, pedagogical method, and course content is an uncertainty at best, given my position. Secondly, with no real ties to my institution, the continuity of course content and teaching methodology is also uncertain for students, since sessional faculty are not expected to attend curriculum meetings, or ever even meet most of the people who are supposedly their colleagues. Long term contracts are no solution in this regard, since the right of first refusal for individual courses is a far more certain form of job security than a contract which will almost certainly terminate. Lastly, even though the job market and economics has driven an increase in the use of sessional lecturing, I personally am not convinced that someone who has little time for research due to a large teaching load can remain as effective as a teacher in the long term.

Posted by Dr. Don Moore, Jan 9, 2013 12:58 PM

as you mentioned sessional is not supposed to be permanent. In fact, people should be discouraged from sitting on sessional positions too long and instead find a real job. it's like funding grad students for as long as they wish, if necessary for 15 years "because they need to live too". It's temporary, let's treat it as such. Everything else just encourages the solidification of the problem.

Posted by sessional, Jan 9, 2013 12:06 PM


Post a comment

University Affairs moderates all comments according to the following guidelines. If approved, comments generally appear within one business day. We may republish particularly insightful remarks in our print edition or elsewhere.