Over the last several decades the proportion of classes taught by tenure track faculty have decreased while student support services are increasingly being outsourced to third parties. In this episode, Tom DiPaola and Daniel T. Scott join us to discuss the impact of these shifts on students. Tom and Daniel are (with Adrianna Kezar) co-authors of The Gig Academy, Research Assistants at the Pullias Center for Higher Education and Fellows at the Urban Education Policy PhD program at the USC Rossier School of Education.
- Kezar, A., DePaola, T., & Scott, D. T. (2019). The Gig Academy: Mapping Labor in the Neoliberal University. Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Bay-Dohl Act of 1980
- Slaughter, S., & Rhoades, G. (2004) Academic capitalism and the new economy: Markets, state, and higher education. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Weil, D. (2014). The fissured workplace. Harvard University Press.
- Julie Martin (2019). “104. Social Capital and Persistence.” Tea for Teaching podcast. October 23.
- Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 35, et. al.
- The Delphi Project
Rebecca: Over the last several decades the proportion of classes taught by tenure track faculty have decreased while student support services are increasingly being outsourced to third parties. In this episode, we examine the impact of these shifts on students.
John: Thanks for joining us for Tea for Teaching, an informal discussion of innovative and effective practices in teaching and learning.
Rebecca: This podcast series is hosted by John Kane, an economist…
John: …and Rebecca Mushtare, a graphic designer.
Rebecca: Together, we run the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at the State University of New York at Oswego.
John: Our guests today are Tom DiPaola and Daniel T. Scott, two authors, with Adrianna Kezar of The Gig Academy. Tom and Daniel are Research Assistants at the Pullias Center for Higher Education and Fellows at the Urban Education Policy PhD program at the USC Rossier School of Education. Welcome.
Tom: Thanks for having us.
Dan: Yeah. Thank you.
John: We’re glad you could join us.
Our teas today are:
Tom: Just for this interview, I busted out my favorite Jasmine pearl tea. So, I’m enjoying a nice cup of it while we chat.
Dan: And I have a coffee. So, a caffeinated cousin. [LAUGHTER]
Rebecca: I’m drinking English afternoon.
John: And I’m drinking black raspberry green tea. We invited you here to talk about The Gig Academy. Actually, before we talk about that… You’re both graduates of a SUNY school, aren’t you?
Tom: Yes, indeed.
Tom: SUNY Purchase… proud alums.
John: Did you know each other before you moved to USC?
Tom: We did as a matter of fact, we both studied philosophy with some of the same folks at Purchase. So, we did know each other, though, we’ve grown considerably closer in recent years.
Dan: Yes, We’ve really been following kind of parallel career paths.
John: And writing a book together would extend that a little bit further.
Dan: …a dream.
Tom: Indeed. [LAUGHTER]
John: In The Gig Economy, you talk about the replacement of long-term employment relationships with contingent labor. Could you tell us a little bit first about your own experience in academic labor markets?
Tom: We’re sort of in an interesting position. I am in my final year of the PhD. And so I’m at this point where all of these things that I’ve been reading and thinking about and hearing horror stories in the media and through organizing for years is finally the world I have to dive headlong into. And so trying to approach the job search in a measured way that was mindful of self-care needs and of the things that I know are controllable and not controllable. But, before this, I worked at Bronx Community College, actually, and I sort of lucked into that work. I didn’t go through a crazy competitive process to do it. And then coming at it from a faculty angle now is considerably more intimidating, but hoping for the best. Everyone I know is just sending out everything… everywhere they can… hundreds of applications… while they’re trying to complete their dissertations, which is fun.
Dan: Yeah, and I’m one year behind Tom, in terms of proximity to the labor market. So I’m feeling a bit less of that pressure at the moment, but getting ready. And on my path to this position here, between completing the BA at Purchase and joining Rossier I had a few different staff support type roles in different higher ed institutions. I worked at Purchase at Borough of Manhattan Community College and in those roles I was supporting student support programs. And so, in some ways, I was a part of this growth in support staff that we discussed a little bit in the book. Some of those positions were contract positions. And so that I felt that contingency as: “I know my contract is coming up and I need to line up another job.” But others were more permanent. So, I got to experience a good range of staff role proximities to contingency.
John: Could you tell us a little bit about the scale of the shifts in the academic labor market?
Tom: Sure. And I think it’s important to note right out of the gate that one of the ways that we tried to approach this subject differently in this book, is by trying to consciously move past the discussions exclusively about academic labor. And I think that we’re at a time where the amount of adjunct exploitation is sufficient enough that that’s becoming a household issue; where even non-academics know that this is a problem. And the conversation does typically tend to revolve around adjuncts and other forms of contingent faculty and PhDs who are out of work. But it’s actually a much bigger thing. And that’s sort of what we’re trying to argue here… is that this is part of a much larger restructuring project, both of the university and of society at large. And that’s partially why we thought the term “Gig Academy” was apt because it’s talking about the entire post-secondary structure, and it’s trying to link it to these other larger cultural shifts around how we value contingent work in society. So, it’s important to note that, while I’m sure we’ll spend a lot of time talking about academic labor, and that may be sort of what the audience is most interested in hearing discussions about, it’s important to remember that it’s everyone: the overwhelming majority of all non-managerial labor in higher ed is contingent, temporary, insecure, poverty waged. And the reason it’s important is because when it comes to talking about solutions and things to do about it, we have to look for all of the channels of solidarity that we have. And so that necessarily includes going outside of simply the precariat, who are instructional labor. And we need to think much more broadly about what that kind of organizing could look like because it’s a question of power and what’s happened to power? That’s the initial comment I would make. Dan, do you want to jump in?
Dan: Yeah, we know one of the most cited statistics is that nearly three quarters of all instructional staff are now contingent labor, but the shift towards contingency has been occurring among all other forms of roles as well. For example, it’s reported that 32% of office and administrative staff are now part time and this movement towards part time this and contingency happens to everyone because the compensation for every role can be cheapend through reducing benefits by shifting to part-time status and reducing hours and then also combining multiple positions into one. And then the biggest problem though, and the reason why we have these two kind of disparate statistics in a few other numbers throughout the book is that there’s not good data that has been collected about work in academia, whether it pertains to contingency employment outcomes for PhDs, or the working conditions of other staff.
Tom: Yeah, there’s only so much information you can glean from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And these are not sexy subjects of research. And folks aren’t necessarily interested in institutional research offices of aggregating this data because it could reflect poorly on them. In fact, one of the similarities you notice is in the way that this kind of mass casualization allows for a selective reporting of diversity statistics. So, institutions can give the race and gender breakdowns of their faculty in aggregate, and it looks like it’s a much more diverse workforce than it is in reality. And this is the same sort of thing that companies like Amazon do, who overwhelmingly have low wage workers of color and warehouses and overwhelmingly white male, highly paid tech workers working on the platforms, and they just combine those together to make it seem that these jobs are more equitably distributed than they are. And that’s part of how this consolidation of power over time has played out. And it’s part of this larger project of neoliberalism. And some folks are hesitant to talk about neoliberalism for understandable reasons, because it’s a word that is thrown around a lot casually and used with some, if not imprecision, at least without proper contextualization. And it’s a word that needs contextualization to talk about because it could mean anything from some cultural quality that you’re describing to mode of power or an ideological tendency or an organizational structure or chains of authority or a sense of identity… you could be talking about personal identity in terms of neoliberal tendencies. And so it’s really important to always specify upfront, when you want to invoke these concepts, what it is you’re actually talking about. So, here we’re looking at the political economy side of it, and how this interfaces with the history of higher ed, because it was in the 70s and 80s that we saw the rise of Reaganism and Thatcherism and we saw this broad disinvestment in the public sphere.
This is in many ways, a well trodden story that plenty of academics know well. But it’s worth recapitulating because as this public disinvestment was happening on a large scale, and unions were ill equipped to contest it because of the way that they had, in their own history, become somewhat exclusionary and focused on backdoor negotiations as opposed to rank-and- file strategies that actually mobilize the base and democratize the process. So, all of these things converged with new opportunities for universities to seek revenue through market mechanisms and other things that get broadly roped under corporatization. But after the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, which Dan could probably say a little more about, but the consequence was that a lot of resources got shifted into more higher return producing ventures around intellectual property because they could capitalize on those things in ways they couldn’t before, even when public monies is used to produce these things. And so it changed a lot of the incentives, and institutions wanted the highest return for the time and energy that was being put in within any domain. So, for faculty (for star faculty, especially) the return to the institution for them teaching an intro level class of 30 students is comparable to the return that they get when an adjunct does that and an adjunct costs $3,000 a semester to teach that course and a tenured faculty member costs $150,000 a year and lots of benefits and other things… and so in redirecting a lot of the efforts, and as part of the scientific management revolution, where the point was to optimize production, we saw a lot of the shifts and it had consequences for the power structures that increasingly guided these institutions. And so the important thing about calling this the “Gig Academy” is because even though 20 years ago, Slaughter and Rhodes had their landmark work, Academic Capitalism and the New Economy, and that sort of introduced all of this new thinking about how neoliberal restructuring has changed higher ed, they were mostly focused on this kind of external profit-seeking, venture-seeking, financialization, restructuring, some of the research and those sorts of things. And they do talk about casualization, of course, and they do talk about the workers. But, this has been 20 years of this being the norm. It’s no longer the ascendant regime. It’s actually the dominant mode through which all of this is done. And so we’re in a dangerous new state of emergence around what this means because it’s changed at such a broad structural level that it warrants a new term to account for the ways that the relations of academic production have been comprehensively restructured.
John: You mentioned that this is not just in the professoriate, but it’s more general. And in the book, you talk a little bit about outsourcing of many activities that used to be done by full-time employees of the college to other businesses outside. Do you want to address that just a little bit?
Tom: The point about outsourcing and David Wiel has a good book about this phenomenon sort of generally called The Fissured Workplace. And part of how this operates is you take auxiliary functions, non-essential functions, and you find that the easiest way to optimize and render cost effective these things is to outsource to third-party contractors. And this has a number of benefits from the perspective of the institution’s executive administration. For instance, with maintenance staff or food-service staff, housing staff, those sorts of workforces can be administered through third-party contractors (Cisco, Aramark, etc.) who manage their own hiring, who make their own schedules, who have their own internal protocols, etc. So, you’re taking, in some cases, workers who before enjoyed substantial benefits of being university employees for a long time. And there’s lots of stories about institutions that have these historical ties to the community. For example, where we go, USC has always taken pride in this and lots of local families have histories working for USC in non-academic capacities. And that that was a community sustaining way of having work and income and also participating in something that’s larger in some ways than just a service job because you’re still part of this institution. You can get tuition remission and you can have access to the health care that other workers have and so forth. And so they’ve shed a lot of these things. Most institutions have shed those arrangements in favor of these blanket arrangements with third-party contractors who can just bring in an endless procession of part- time contingent workers to do that work. And there’s very little risk of cross organizing in the way that they might fear where if you look back, for example, at the Justice for Janitors movement about 30 years ago in the early 90s (and that actually happened to involve USC) it was the maintenance workers trying to unionize while the institution was trying to outsource that work in general. And what happened was like faculty and students and local community organizations and immigrant right groups all came together and the unions and the maintenance workers themselves and so it was this broad-based effort to resist part of that outsourcing and ultimately, they were outsourced and they unionized, but even when they unionized that power that they claimed couldn’t be directed easily at the university because now they negotiated with the labor contractor. Universities who do this has its hands washed of that. It no longer has to concern itself with that. It no longer has to concern itself with whether these workers have access to health care or more than a poverty wage and so forth. They’re not part of those immediate considerations. And so they do that as much as possible in order to fragment the campus to make sure that power over these workforces is as centrally administered as possible in order to control cost and control risk. And so yeah, the outsourcing of staff… and we’ve even seen this with administrative staff… so, it’s not just the service work that we traditionally think of around food and housing and maintenance and so forth. But, even once you get into administrative staff and other knowledge work, you find these same things. So, it’s really like looking at these patterns across every stratum of the workforce.
John: From the standpoint of students, one advantage of this is it keeps costs lower, but you also talk a lot about the costs of this to students. What are some of the negative impacts to students of having this contingent labor force in higher ed.
Dan: Yeah, so the increasing levels of contingency that staff, faculty, custodial staff, professional staff, all types of staff basically, experience means that they have lower bandwidth mentally… fewer resources to offer when engaging with students. From the faculty perspective, you can’t necessarily hang around after class for a half hour talking to various students about their interests beyond what happened during class discussion. If you have to run to go catch your other job at the other university because the current one where you’re working doesn’t offer you a full-time role or doesn’t offer a role with enough pay so that you have to work multiple full-time roles and then connected to what we were just talking about in terms of the outsourcing dimension, universities are outsourcing advising staff and other staff that perform interactive and supportive, engaging roles with students as well. And so with that comes an increasing formalization of those interactions. So, that instead of me being the academic advisor that you come to, and we’re talking about your personal life, and maybe I’m sharing about mine a little bit, and there’s this kind of interpersonal connection with a permanent staff member located physically at the university. Instead, you’re dealing with someone who might be working remotely to provide advising services and is basically just trying to make sure that they cross all their t’s and dot all their i’s to satisfy the requirements of their particular engagement with you so they can move on to the other several hundred students that they’re responsible for in their caseload. And so, generally speaking then, the increasing move towards contingency and outsourcing means that staff are less connected to the university and therefore less connected to students and then they’re also just dealing with priorities beyond making students feel like they really belong and connecting them in this deep sense.
Tom: And because this is in the context of a broader devaluation of teaching, it has consequences for the quality of instruction that often get pinned on adjuncts, or other contingent faculty as lacking care when, in reality, the incentives are such that it’s almost impossible to avoid certain things being diluted. For example, there’s a lot of talk about academic freedom these days and what’s happening to academic freedom and people are scared of teaching X, Y, or Z because they’re sounding the warning alarms about cancel culture or whatever the case may be. But, for contingent faculty, the concern is mainly getting rehired. And to the extent that you are part of a lecturer pool where you’re interchangeable with a lot of other people, the folks in charge of hiring you semester-to-semester are likely to consult and put an overemphasis on things like student feedback, and also passing rates, these simple kinds of metrics that they can look to to decide whether someone’s worth rehiring, and those can be gamed, obviously. You can lower your grading standards and the complexity of your assignments. And you can avoid controversial topics that would benefit students to talk about… and that you want to talk about. But, you have these other concerns that understandably take precedence and that’s on top of all the burnout and general overwork and under pay. So, you’re getting paid $3,000 for this semester, whether or not you come up with a really thoughtful critical pedagogical approach, or if you just use the cookie-cutter syllabus that they give you when they bring you on for that course. So, there’s not a lot of opportunity to perform well and for faculty to self-actualize in that way, because those incentives are so misaligned. So, the learning suffers in that way, too. It’s not just… although it’s a huge piece of it… that you’re losing personal connections to others and to people you learn from, which we know through educational psych studies that this is important. These relationships are how we learn. Learning, absent some kind of community of that learning, is usually much more difficult, which is at least partly why it’s been tough to shift to a MOOC model of administering higher ed through these just massive open online courses, where you can get generic competencies in things. And that’s in part because your human brain needs these social connections in order to effectively learn… because you don’t just learn and it’s done. It’s an ongoing process, obviously. And we have relationships to sustain those. I mean, I’m still close with my college advisors, and I went to a SUNY school. I feel like I was spoiled by that by being right sort of in the middle of the institutional tiers where the faculty weren’t under publish-or-perish pressure and pedagogy and good teaching was valued by the institution enough that you could have these really meaningful experiences and form meaningful bonds and you got advised by your actual professors. And it was very easy to develop a romanticized view of the academy when I was 18, based on what I knew of my philosophy and literature professors at SUNY Purchase, and then you see both extremes once I started working at community colleges that were under-resourced, and I saw how much people struggled to make things work. And even when they cared very deeply about what they were doing, and the students and everything, being spread so thin… and then at the other end just like upper-elite crust of private research institutions where teaching is not valued as much because it doesn’t ultimately bring new returns to the university if you’re a great teacher; it does if you get that extra grant or you publish that extra article or so and so forth. So, the odd thing is, in a lot of cases, the higher up in the prestige of the university, the more likely you are to encounter questionable pedagogy because of these misaligned incentives, which isn’t to say there aren’t great professors everywhere. It’s just the these are structural limitations.
Rebecca: We’ve talked a little bit about academic rigor potentially being influenced by contingent faculty because of incentives. But, it strikes me that we had a recent episode with Julie Martin, Episode 104, about social capital and how social capital is really important for first-generation students. So, can you talk a little bit about how contingency across staff and faculty impacts this group or this population of students more so than some other groups of students.
Tom: We could easily make a case around how, without these connections through the institution, students are worse off. They don’t have sources of support and advice and connections. Students who are advised through this kind of highly efficient Tayloresque process where every activity has been unbundled from everything else… they don’t have that network to resort to and they can’t get that advice. And for first-gen students whose parents did not go to college, obviously they’re missing out on a lot of informal guidance that other students get and so these institutional relationships can be really important substitutes for that. Whether or not you have social capital is a reflection of your class status or where you fall in the stratum. But, as a place of intervention, it doesn’t actually help if the overarching economic and political structures are the same. There’s a lot of well intentioned interventions in higher ed designed to increase the amount of social capital that students have. And there’s a lot of like private funding behind these initiatives for good reason, because it doesn’t threaten the larger power and economic structures. Providing social capital can be helpful at a small level, but at a structural level, it’s impossible to move the needle simply by trying to supplement social or cultural capital.
Rebecca: I think you misinterpreted what I meant, because I wasn’t implying that we should have interventions but rather that when the structures are taken down where faculty aren’t playing the role of an advisor or have this ability to be integrated into the structure more, in a role other than just teaching their class.
Tom: Oh, absolutely.
Rebecca: So… [LAUGHTER]
Tom: Sorry. No… I wasn’t… I was totally in agreement with you. And then I wanted to go the step further, because I think some folks could listen to that and say, “Well, the answer to that is to just create a separate platform where we put at-risk students in touch with people who are going to increase their social capital.”
John: The focus of that research that Julie Martin had done was basically on the degree of connections that students have with their fellow students, with faculty, and with a college in general. And what her research was basically showing is that first-generation students come in with much weaker knowledge of how colleges function, and much of that information is picked up through interactions that they may not have, and it raises their probability of dropping out, failing, or withdrawing from college. And so basically, I think what Rebecca was arguing is that the impact of having more contingent staffing of colleges is likely to have a differential impact on first-generation students who are less likely to be successful in completing the degree. And that’s I think, where this impact could be fairly substantial. Because what it means basically is the people who potentially have the most to gain in terms of higher future income and careers are going to be placed most at risk, while those who come in from wealthier family backgrounds are more likely to be successful because they come in with more of that knowledge from their past experiences.
Tom: Yeah, exactly. I totally agree. And I think that’s basically what we argue in the book. I didn’t mean to seem that I was pushing back on that argument. It’s an important one, and it’s definitely true. And I think it goes even further to some extent, because the increased likelihood that someone drops out for these reasons, falls also disproportionately on students of color. And when that happens, those students are also more likely to have debt that they then are at risk of defaulting on particularly if they didn’t finish the degree. And we know there are lots of studies of the student debt crisis that show how this disproportionately falls on students of color and students of color who weren’t ultimately able to complete their degrees or who got roped into predatory for profit-schemes.
Dan: I feel like the takeaway is that whenever you reduce institutional supports for the most marginalized groups of students, whether its first-generation students, which we both are, by the way (shout out to first-gen students), working class students, racially minoritized students… Yes, the most marginalized groups always end up suffering with the removal of these formal supports because folks with capital can supplement their college experiences through college advisors, like private advisors, I mean, and through other forms of third-party support, to help them gain knowledge and help them gain navigational understanding for gaining success through higher ed.
John: What solutions would you suggest? What can be done to remedy the situation?
Dan: I think one of the biggest things is for workers in higher ed, workers in other industries, basically to start applying their own agency and concern towards addressing these issues. We’ve seen increasing levels of unionization among workers in different industries, and especially in higher ed. But, these trends are not going to reverse themselves and the executive-level decision making that has contributed to it, in addition to the broad entrepreneurial mindset that is a part of American culture, these things are not going to just go away. And so it’s important for workers to recognize that through organizing and developing collective power, we can start reshaping some of these trends. That seems like among the most important dimensions for me,
John: You just suggested that unionization rates have been increasing. Is that the case for higher ed? I know there’s been at least some increase in graduate student unionization. But, is that true generally?
Tom: It is true generally. The impact could be modest depending on which class of worker you’re talking about. I think graduate students are significant to note because they are the ones who seem to be really working to shift the paradigm around how and why we’re organizing. And as we live in a sort of post-Janus world where there are less structural legal protections around unions and unionizing and bargaining, there’s been a deserved shift back to focusing on issues of power and how you actually accumulate enough raw collective power to compel institutions to act in ways that benefit the student body and that benefit the workforce, and not just the endowment and not just the board and the real estate interests that the institution may have. And so this is why graduate workers are becoming more militant and organizing more effectively around these social movement unionism principles that has a larger agenda than simply increasing the attractive terms of our contract. It’s moving beyond this “Let’s just talk about pay and insurance and compensation. And let’s have bigger conversations around structural issues.”
We gathered some strength, I think from the K-12. teachers unions and the really inspiring strikes and other actions that we’ve seen actually yield important wins for these folks. And we’re starting to see the value of being able to actually throw a wrench into the gears of production itself in order to be heard and to have demands taken seriously and concerns taken seriously and to redistribute power. And it’s important to look at the broader social trends around labor activism and how this is getting expressed in certain circles of higher ed, and we’re trying to advance that conversation in part because for all of the controversy around unions and some people, particularly older folks who remember the decline of the union movement have mixed feelings or bitter feelings about the unions and how they act and what they do. At a really basic level, a union is just workers coming together to act collectively and exert leverage over their managers and employers, and over thus the conditions of their work. And so we’re finding new and interesting ways to push those battles and have those conversations outside of conventional union strategies like 50% plus one elections. And we’re focused more on power, which I think is really crucial, in part because of the way that this connects to the broader gig economy. And the way that we’ve normalized this idea of the independent contractor and this following your passion and everyone is their own brand and all these other ideological tendencies that end up just allowing these flexible labor markets to work more smoothly for those who are skimming rent off the top. And that’s what we see… universities are the same sorts of platforms in a lot of different ways. And for something like Uber, the contingent labor force that keeps Uber running is a temporary solution. They see it as a temporary fix for a long-term game, which is just to automate everything to have perpetually money making robots, roving the city who never need breaks and benefits. And so the drivers are really like, to the extent that they’re getting paid in peanuts to do this work… and all the maintenance costs are being offloaded onto workers, as opposed to being a responsibility of the employer, which is something we see in higher ed as well. Because, if you’re an adjunct and you have to work at three different universities, teaching intro-level classes to make ends meet, you’re shouldering all of the costs of the academic supplies you need and the car that you take to get from campus to campus and the gas that goes into that car and whether or not you have memberships with the necessary learning platforms to be able to interface with whatever student learning management system is being used. And so these are all like these micro ways that costs are being offloaded onto workers, and that this is turning into a convenient form of control for the institution at large.
John: You’d advocate basically then a larger role for unions, and then would the unions be lobbying for perhaps less use of contingent labor?
Tom: I mean, sure… In the short term, there may be ways to try to compel institutions to both improve the working conditions and pay and compensation for contingent workers. But, the goal would be to really eliminate this by democratizing the power structure. And it’s on all of us to do that, because the goal is to ensure that the decisions being made at the university are being made democratically and are being made by people who have the interests of students and scholarship at heart and not purely business or market interest. And to get there, we have to look well beyond the old structures of faculty governance. It’s not going to get us there just to bring a few nominal adjuncts into governance meetings and curriculum committees and so forth. We need to fundamentally redistribute the power at universities that had been siphoned in really small doses for so long. Because as the number of faculty in secure positions was dwindling, a lot of the responsibilities of faculty, in a kind of organic sense, were being shifted into administration. And so this is how we ended up in a situation where the amount of tenure-track faculty was languishing while the number of PhD students brought in is spiking. And the number of contingent faculty are spiking, because there are all of those incentives. And for the faculty who have security, their main concerns are doing research and trying to do an increasing amount of work that they have to shoulder among an ever smaller population… around governance and searches and so forth. So they’re all too happy to let the administration deal with hiring adjuncts and all these things. But over time, it’s been this gradual relinquishment of power to the point where tenured faculty have so little power, they’re afraid to even use it. And it should be the number one priority of anyone on the tenure track or with tenure, to stand in solidarity with the contingent workers. Because, that is the only way you can ultimately guarantee the longevity of academic freedom and all of the other rights that you enjoy, because you need that power. Without the power, you’ve got nothing. And so that’s one way we want this book to function is to make folks realize that the kinds of artificial divisions that we see among faculty who are on the tenure track who are doing the scholarly work versus those who are kept and cycled through various contingent positions, we absolutely need to bridge that gap. And it would behoove anyone with any power and security to join that fight. So, yeah, it’s going to take organizing. Unions are an important part of it. We have to look beyond unions. We have to think about broad based organizing through every possible vehicle that we can.
Rebecca: We always wrap up by asking, what’s next?
Tom: General strike. [LAUGHTER]
Dan: I’ll say, for the Delphi project, another avenue that we’ve been pursuing in terms of supporting shifts in the structures and political economy of higher ed institutions, is to recognize institutions who’ve made novel changes to support non-tenure-track faculty. And so we’ve been offering this award in recognition, which names their excellence and also provides a little bit of funding to them. We’ll be going into the third cycle of the Delphi award this upcoming year. Right now, we’ve been working to communicate the nature of changes that have been made for the last year’s winners. And so we’ve been recognizing that and then we’re also involved in working with graduate student union organizing, at USC specifically. So, that’s another big next for me personally. And then we have a couple grants to study, again, institutions that are making novel changes to transform the nature of teaching and learning.
John: Well, thank you for joining us.
Tom: Thank you. This has been a great conversation, and thanks for reading the book and inviting us on here.
Dan: Yeah, thank you so much.
Rebecca: Thank you.
John: If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. To continue the conversation, join us on our Tea for Teaching Facebook page.
Rebecca: You can find show notes, transcripts and other materials on teaforteaching.com. Music by Michael Gary Brewer.