The Scary Stats on Contingency in Higher Education


Happy Halloween! It’s Campus Equity Week, when faculty, students, and communities on campuses across the country shine a light on the increasingly precarious nature of academic work. The graphic below, created by AAUP digital organizer Mariah Quinn, captures the scary reality of our higher education system, in which contingent appointments now account for over 70 percent of all instructional staff appointments.

You can check out our #CEW2017 resources on our One Faculty, One Resistance campaign page.


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One thought on “The Scary Stats on Contingency in Higher Education

  1. Why is this scary? The Academy is central to the tiered wage scale at colleges and universities. Not unlike an “A” scale and “B” scale at airlines, the lower-priced labor pool serves two functions: one, it subsidizes and protects senior professor wage rates at the A scale (tenure and tenure-track), along with their pensions and benefits; and two, it allows an institution to grow under less demanding budgeting; that is, cheap labor allows universities to “feed the machine” with higher uptake and enrollment, which also, perhaps even more centrally, fuels growth in administration, including its incentives to grow as a counter-party to federal government bureaucracy, which is explanatory for much of the current contentions on American campuses, including of course Title VI and the disruption-as-discrimination construct.

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