The witty campaign of mass applications by groups of four mostly junior or adjunct faculty for the $400,000 a year job of President of the University of Alberta has served to highlight much that is disturbing about the way universities are headed internationally. The conjunction of ever-rising numbers of overpaid managers, cuts to tenured or permanent faculty positions, and greater and greater reliance on a reserve army of adjuncts is a transatlantic phenomenon. It would be nice to see similarly spirited and intelligent resistance in the UK. In this piece two of those involved in the Alberta action explain their thinking more fully.
The debate has also been taken up in the New York Times. Kathy Causey, the associate professor of English at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, who inaugurated the U of A mass application campaign, concludes her “Room for Debate” piece:
“If the compensation for university presidents should reflect their credentials, backgrounds and the jobs they do, then surely the compensation for the many adjuncts they employ should likewise reflect their credentials (Ph.D.’s), backgrounds (years of teaching) and jobs (the same work as tenured faculty). If universities are the “marketplace,” we should be able to decide what cost the marketplace will bear. The leaders of universities, in these times of austerity, need to lead by example.”