QMAC in Times Higher, in good company

An article by Holly Else in Times Higher covering many local anti-casualisation campaigns, including Qmac, came out today:

‘In addition to doing their research, they are trying to prepare an undergraduate lecture, devise a reading list for a related seminar group and worrying about when they will get time to mark the ensuing pile of essays. But such is life for those who hope to boost their employment prospects by taking on a graduate teaching assistant role.

Nor do GTAs necessarily move on once they have secured their doctorate. Many early career academics continue to piece together a living on several fractional or hourly paid teaching contracts to keep their toes in the waters of academia while they fish desperately for a fixed-term position.’

….

‘At Queen Mary University of London, the Queen Mary Against Casualisation (QMAC) group formed after individuals met at an event held by FFFP in November 2014. One complaint of the group is that hourly paid teachers at the institution have not had a pay rise since 2008, and a campaign to push for one is now under way with the local branch of the UCU. A statement from the group says that PhD cohorts “are often treated as a source of cheap labour” and frequently bear “large responsibilities [for] teaching on core undergraduate modules, without adequate pay or training”.’

The article also covers other campaigns across the country, including Kings And SOAS, and is well worth a look, tracing the extend of casualisation across HE but also the extent of mounting resistance:

https://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/features/were-worth-more-casual-teaching-staff-fight-back?nopaging=1

Another article in TH today might also be of interest, quoting FACE, regarding the problematics of naming Hourly Paid Lecturers for what they are. One of QMAC’s campaign aims is to have our designation changed from ‘Assistant’ to ‘Associate’ as it currently is on the Queen Mary University website. If calling us simply lecturers would serve to dissimulate the extend of casualised labbour across campus, ‘Teaching Assistant’ does not reflect the amount of (often free) work we do, our investment in developing the curriculum and can damage job prospects:

https://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/casual-lecturers-%E2%80%98stigmatised-job-titles%E2%80%99

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