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Hidden academics: the part-time faculty in Canada

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More than one-third of all Canadian faculty are part-timers who contribute significantly to academic work while consuming only marginally universities' economic resources. Mythical images of their temporariness in the workforce obfuscate the differences of career aspiration and motivation within the group. Two factors render them invisible or hidden academics: one rooted in the economics of the university system and the second in the ideological structures of academic practices and traditions. In the political economy of universities the relentless drive to manage enrolment, finances, and teaching costs has resulted in a bureaucratic rationalization of the academic workload and a bifurcated academic labour force hierarchically split into full- and part-time faculties with radically different work processes and treatment within universities. Part-timers are now a permanent and low-cost academic workforce, producing a surplus value transferable within the university to compensate for what would otherwise be fiscal shortfall. Degradation of certain workprocesses by rationalizing and de-professionalizing certain academic functions legitimized the academic workforce split in relative pay and job characteristics, which reinforces the evident feminization of the part-time faculty.

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Rajagopal, I., Farr, W.D. Hidden academics: the part-time faculty in Canada. High Educ 24, 317–331 (1992).

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