Christina DeRoche’s Experience
Sociology of Medicine and Women and Age, Nipissing University
I’ve worked as a contract faculty member for 9 years. I currently teach Sociology of Medicine and Women and Age. I love my job because I get to interact with the youth of today and make a difference in some capacity, but also engage in research and academic endeavours. I’ll never forget when my students presented me with an end of the year gift acknowledging how much I had meant to them. I’m extremely proud of the time I was chosen to help in collating benchmarking data for the provincial body of children’s inpatient psychiatric centres.
If contract professors became full-time faculty, we could offer so much more to universities, students and Canadian research. As a full-time faculty member, I would be able to engage more fully with my students by holding regular office hours that were not at night. It would also mean not having to work twice as hard or at more than one job to ensure my living costs could be covered. On a more personal level, I would have the opportunity to engage and spend more time with my family, including my husband and daughter.
Each week, I travel less than 5 kms to get to work and do 20 hours of additional unpaid work to support my students. In return, I have dental, retirement and medical benefits. This is on top of <$10,000 in student debt I owe after studying at McMaster University to become an expert in Sociology of Education and Health. My current income is appropriate for a full-time Professor but I work 2 jobs in order to do so. I currently have no job security, which makes it hard to feel committed to the job.
Overall, I want to tell you that as a contract faculty member I work full-time in a non-academic, public sector position. I love this job but if the universities feel that they are to move in this direction of hiring more sessional and contract faculty, they will have to pay the price and so will our students. As a full-time working contract staff member, my students do not get the attention nor the professor they deserve. Additionally, universities will have to ensure they have the appropriate support services in place after working hours to accommodate their sessional faculty who work nights after working days at a full-time position.