They became one step closer to accomplishing this goal when Provost James Dean announced he recommended giving longer contracts to these faculty members.
However, this recommendation does not secure longer contracts for faculty not on the tenure track because the decision is still up to the individual departments.
45.5% of the current full-time faculty are fixed-term.
Nancy Fisher, chair of the fixed-term faculty committee of faculty council, said the council became aware of this problem after distributing a survey to faculty two years ago.
Fisher said the recession in 2008 caused the University to turn to shorter contracts because of the uncertainty with the economy. However, the economy is more stable now but contract lengths for fixed-term faculty are still shorter, at one year or sometimes even one-semester long.
“It doesn’t give a great feeling of job security and also it’s a little bit unnerving to have to renew your contract every single year even though you know you’re coming back to teach or do research or provide clinical care,” Fisher said.
Peter Pihos, a lecturing fellow at Duke University, said as a fixed-term faculty member, he understands the struggles of short-term contracts, like little time for planning courses, if their contracts were to be renewed.
“It is a system that is thriving on cheapening, casualizing labor and I think it’s really sad, in part, it just reflects our priorities,” Pihos said.