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October 29, 2019
9781421432717
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9781421432700
English
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v2.1 Reference

The Gig Academy

Mapping Labor in the Neoliberal University

Over the past two decades, higher education employment has undergone a radical transformation with faculty becoming contingent, staff being outsourced, and postdocs and graduate students becoming a larger share of the workforce. For example, the faculty has shifted from one composed mostly of tenure-track, full-time employees to one made up of contingent, part-time teachers. Non-tenure-track instructors now make up 70 percent of college faculty. Their pay for teaching eight courses averages $22,400 a year—less than the annual salary of most fast-food workers.

In The Gig Academy, Adrianna Kezar, Tom DePaola, and Daniel T. Scott assess the impact of this disturbing workforce development. Providing an overarching framework that takes the concept of the gig economy and applies it to the university workforce, this book scrutinizes labor restructuring across both academic and nonacademic spheres. By synthesizing these employment trends, the book reveals the magnitude of the problem for individual workers across all institutional types and job categories while illustrating the damaging effects of these changes on student outcomes, campus community, and institutional effectiveness. A pointed critique of contemporary neoliberalism, the book also includes an analysis of the growing divide between employees and administrators.

The authors conclude by examining the strengthening state of unionization among university workers. Advocating a collectivist, action-oriented vision for reversing the tide of exploitation, Kezar, DePaola, and Scott urge readers to use the book as a tool to interrogate the state of working relations on their own campuses and fight for a system that is run democratically for the benefit of all. Ultimately, The Gig Academy is a call to arms, one that encourages non-tenure-track faculty, staff, postdocs, graduate students, and administrative and tenure-track allies to unite in a common struggle against the neoliberal Gig Academy.

About the Authors

Adrianna Kezar is a professor of higher education at the University of Southern California and the co-director of the Pullias Center for Higher Education, where she is the principal investigator for the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success. She is the author of numerous books, including How Colleges Change: Understanding, Leading, and Enacting Change. Tom DePaola is a provost's fellow in urban education policy at the University of Southern California, a researcher with the Pullias Center for Higher Education, and a member of USC's Graduate Student Organizing Committee. Daniel T. Scott is a PhD student at the University of Southern California and a researcher with the Pullias Center's Delphi Project.

Endorsementss

"A useful and timely work that ties together significant issues under one framework. The inclusion of nonacademic university workers makes this book extremely valuable. Pointing out larger trends in higher education and how they are affecting workers across institutions, The Gig Academy is likely to attract attention among contingent workers, unions, professional organizations, and sociologists, as well as in the classroom"

- Timothy Reese Cain, University of Georgia, author of Establishing Academic Freedom: Politics, Principles, and the Development of Core Values

"This book fills a huge void in the professional literature by reminding readers that labor practices in the academy are changing—and for the worse. Its accessible and clear style, coupled with its capacity to synthesize trends, will appeal to diverse academic audiences as well as lay readers. The analyses and recommendations invite readers to evaluate their own work environments, engage in dialogue about necessary change, and act to address injustice."

- Peter M. Magolda, author of The Lives of Campus Custodians: Insights into Corporatization and Civic Disengagement in the Academy

"The Gig Academy offers an essential new angle on the now well-established trend of contingent employment in higher education, broadening the discussion of contingent and adjunct faculty to include the other contingents: staff, researchers, post-docs, and graduate students. As administrators centralize control and diminish the valuing of faculty, staff, and graduate students, they enact an ethos of individualism, undermining the very enterprise of higher education, which is built on notions of community. In doing so, administrators also contribute to the broadening erosion of public trust and support for higher education. The Gig Academy importantly suggests that this misalignment between espoused and enacted values has enormous implications for students, especially given increasing evidence of their need for continuity and mentorship. In fact, it would appear that it is just a matter of time before the effects of the gig economy will be primarily absorbed by students. This examination offers a strong warning about the implications of the neoliberal embrace of gig economic strategies in higher education. Fortunately, The Gig Academy also offers practical recommendations for how employees across all spectrums of academic labor might move forward collectively to demand change."

- Sue Doe, Director, Center for the Study of Academic Labor, Colorado State University
Johns Hopkins University Press
Reforming Higher Education: Innovation and the Public Good
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9781421432717 : the-gig-academy-kezar-depaola-scott
Electronic book text
October 29, 2019
$32.95 USD
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October 29, 2019
$32.95 USD

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