Laura Gagne’s Story

Posted June 3rd, 2015 By OCUFA

Greek archaeology, University of Toronto

I’ve worked as a contract faculty member for 3years. I currently teach Greek archaeology. I love my job because I love to share my enthusiasm and passion for my subject with my students. I’ll never forget when one of my students was featured as a student success story on the university webpage and said she had changed her major to Greek and Roman studies after taking my class and falling in love with the subject. I’m extremely proud of the time I developed a hybrid course, embracing the technology that used to make me nervous..

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 develop new courses and improve the ones I teach (knowing I would be teaching them again). It would also mean I would have money for research. On a more personal level, I could pay off debts, pay off my mortgage, and plan for my retirement.

Each week, I travel 70 (each trip) kms to get to work and do 30 hours of additional unpaid work to support my students. In return, I have nobenefits. This is on top of <$10,000in student debt I owe. My current income is too low and insecure. I currently have almost no job security, which makes it hard to plan my future.

Overall, I want to tell you that Part-time professors put in as much work as full-time professors, but are not recognized. We never know from term to term whether we will be teaching because we must apply for every course. If someone with more seniority also applies for your course, you lose out even if you are a subject matter expert, have more education (PhD rather than MA), or have taught the course many times before. It is impossible to develop courses properly when you only have a few weeks lead time. With more job security, I could spend more time working on pedagogy, enriching the experience of my students.

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