Laura Hall’s Story
Sustainable community based Indigenous planning, York University
I’ve worked as a contract faculty member for 5 years. I currently teach sustainable community based Indigenous planning. I love my job because my students and I push knowledge in new and exciting ways. I’ll never forget when my students created their own emergent learning plan, teaching each other in a circle. I’m extremely proud of the time I was able to situate our classroom outside even in the Winter, allowing us to engage directly with environmental and embodied learning practices.
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 work to create community based, emergent learning practices and to deepen our research profiles in areas of new scholarship. It would also mean that I could finally lead innovative research addressing the gaps in our service and socio-political needs.
Each week, I travel many kms to get to work and do 5 hours of additional unpaid work to support my students. In return, I have no benefits. This is on top of $20,001-$30,000 in student debt I owe after studying at to become an expert in Indigenous studies. My current income is too little and too insecure. I currently have minimal job security, which makes it hard to maintain food and housing security.
Overall, I want to tell you that The biggest issues that I and perhaps others face, relate to the capacity that we have to collectively impact University policy, student freedom (both creative and economic), academic freedom and responsibility, and research priorities and patterns. We should be pushing forward in innovative ways, doing the kinds of work that we are trained to do.