College Art Association

CAA News Today

Earlier this year, the Coalition on the Academic Workforce (CAW) published an issue brief estimating 72.5 percent of all faculty members at American colleges and universities are contingent, that is, they do not have tenure or are not on the tenure track. Since no comprehensive national data exist for pay scales, benefits, working conditions, and involvement in departmental decision-making—let alone specifics on academic-based artists and art historians, and for university museum researchers—this figure cannot be verified.

For this reason, CAW has developed a Survey of Contingent Faculty Members and Instructors, which will examine compensation and working conditions, among other issues, at the institutional and course levels. The goal of the survey, which is live from September 27 to November 30, 2010, is to gather accurate information so that CAW may advocate more effectively at the local and national level.

As an active CAW member, CAA supports workforce equity through its Standards and Guidelines, advocacy efforts, and data compilation, and it urges all contingent faculty, instructors, and researchers to complete this survey and to alert others to do the same.

Open to full- and part-time teachers, graduate students (remunerated as teaching assistants or employed in other roles), researchers, and postdoctoral fellows, the survey is an excellent opportunity for CAW to count contingent faculty properly and record their working conditions. Survey results will be shared with you once they are compiled. This information will also contribute to a national database that will assist future advocacy work.

CAA specifically requested that the survey include distinct categories for artists, art historians, and related researchers, so that the visual arts will be fully represented. On an individual level, the conclusions drawn may help determine your working conditions in relation to national trends. Results will also inform specific CAA Contingent Faculty Standards and Guidelines, as well as future advocacy by CAA on your behalf.

Take the Survey of Contingent Faculty Members and Instructors now. If you have questions about it or about CAW, please contact Linda Downs, CAA executive director.

Read reactions to the survey in Inside Higher Ed.