Marie Polgar-Matthews’ Story

Posted March 23rd, 2015 By OCUFA

I’ve worked as a contract faculty member for 2.5 years. I currently teach Qualitative Methods at UOIT in Oshawa. I love my job because I can impact the lives of young students.  I love to inspire students to reach their full potential within their academic careers. I’ll never forget when I received a thank you letter from a student who went on to graduate studies. I’m extremely proud of the time I helped students connect qualitative action research to student issues.

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 a stronger reference for my students who want to me to write them letters of reference for graduate programs. It would also mean I could plan a future, beyond 17 weeks. On a more personal level, I would be able to buy a house.

Each week, I travel 102 kms to get to work and do 2-3 hours of additional unpaid work to support my students. In return, I have no benefits. This is on top of $30,001-$40,000 in student debt I owe after studying criminology at UOIT. My current income is unreliable and lacks stability. I currently have very little job security, which makes it hard to plan beyond 17 weeks of my life at a time.

Overall, I want to tell you that the University tells us they can pay us so little ($7000.00 for a course) and they don’t have to offer us stability because our jobs are disposable. I have to apply for my job every 17 weeks, because they they say they only need me to fill an immediate need. Basically, I am told my my employer that my employment covers other employees who are off on maternity leave. However, I challenge this explanation! When every term at least 1/3 of all the courses at UOIT are taught by Sessional Lecturers. I highly doubt we are being hired to cover employees off on maternity leave. I offer that we are being hired because they only have to pay us $7000.00 per course and they can provide us with no stability or benefits.

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