Michelle’s Story

Posted February 26th, 2015 By OCUFA

Environmental Science

My name is Michelle.

I’ve worked as a contract faculty member for 2 years. I currently teach Environmental Science. I love my job because I can inspire students to think of issues from many perspectives. I’ll never forget when a student thanked my for helping them overcome their fear of communicating in writing. I’m extremely proud of the time I watched my students engage in fervent & informed debates.

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 have time to updated & incorporate innovations into course curriculum. It would also mean I could publish important research on both teaching & environmental science. On a more personal level, I would have the opportunity to STOP WORRYING about survival and give my family & community all I have to offer.

Each week, I travel 2-200 kms to get to work and do 20-30 hours of additional unpaid work to support my students. In return, I have no benefits. This is on top of >$40,000 in student debt I owe after studying to become an expert in aquatic ecology. My current income is sometimes zero, sometimes minimum wage and at most the average for Ontario. I currently have no job security, which makes it hard to make any plans for the future.

Overall, I want to tell you that the stigma/belief that contract faculty are in anyway less competent than full-time faculty as teachers, researchers & citizens is the most unfair & difficult part.

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