Canadian universities increasingly relying on part-time faculty

September 9, 2014

The CBC has published a report on the increasing use of part-time faculty at Canadian universities. According to the report, universities are not hiring tenure-track faculty at a rate that is consistent with increasing enrolment, and are making up the difference by increasing class sizes and hiring sessional instructors. At some institutions, part-time faculty members earn just $28,000 for teaching 4 courses. The article notes that Wilfrid Laurier University, for instance, spent less than 4% of its 2012 budget on part-time faculty, who taught 52% of the university's courses that year. "I think there are legitimate concerns about having such a large part-time workforce, but it’s an unfortunate consequence of underfunding the university,” said Laurier’s VP Teaching Pat Rogers. Herbert Pimlott, a professor at Laurier, says that the contractual status of faculty can have an impact of the quality of students’ education, simply because full-time faculty are able to spend more time on campus and are more likely to have their own office space for meetings. Some schools are making changes: the report notes that McMaster University and the University of Waterloo have created full-time, teaching-only positions to reduce their reliance on sessional instructors, while some faculty unions have been able to negotiate better wages, benefits, and job security for part-time faculty. CBC News