Friday, November 21, 2008

I rest my case

A small group of us who are casual lecturers (adjuncts in American terminology) recently received a grant from the university to conduct a survey of early career lecturers across campus, to find out what conditions and resources are like, and what sorts of needs there is for training and support.

One of our main hypotheses was that there are a lot more casual lecturers than the university realises, and that they tend to be teaching bigger courses with worse support and fewer resources than is commonly thought to be the case. We suspected that casual employees fall between the cracks because they are often not around when it comes to departmental reviews; they don't tend to show up in official publications like the university handbook (usually the person the casual lecturer is filling in for is listed as the course convener even when on leave), or in official university statistics.

So we created our survey. It got ethics clearance. We sent it to the university's official survey-putting-up technical people, along with instructions about who we are trying to survey and why.

The survey went live yesterday.

Today I find that—guess what?—surveys by default aren't open to casual employees, and the technical people didn't think of changing this option.

Casual lecturers trying to fill out a survey about whether or not the university ignores them get a pretty little red error message: access denied. Because they're only casuals.


Joanna said...

Poor StyleyGeek. I have my own opinions on this, although I haven't lectured (yet?).
I don't think I'll be tutoring again, at least not for a while. If you're interested I can come chat to you sometime.

Anonymous said...

institutions certainly tell on themselves.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

That would be completly typical of the places I was an academic migrant worker...

At least your institution has enough awareness to see that there is reason to ask the questions. Here they don't ask questions they don't like the answers to... thus, it wouldn't happen.

Bardiac said...

Oh, that's painful :(

(My capcha is metanspa. That has to mean something!)

quietandsmalladventures said...

oh wow, that's so status quo!