Confronting Precariousness


Not all stories are big stories, but sometimes the small stories are illustrative in ways that bigger stories cannot be because as the scope of a story becomes narrower, the implications can be seen in a more personalized way.

In the Music Department at Pacific Lutheran University, changes have been proposed that, on the whole may seem like a good thing. Several new tenure-eligible positions have been created to fill needs previously met by contingent faculty. In addition, the compensation for contingent faculty in the department, long calculated in a disadvantageous way, has been brought into line with the compensation paid to contingent faculty throughout the rest of the university.

So, on the surface, these developments would seem to be quite positive.

But there are several elements of the changes that make the situation more disquieting.

First, the Department of Music includes contingent faculty who have taught at the university…

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