I.3. Power and Institutions

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Non-tenured faculty research

PostFri Dec 09, 2016 10:54 am

In addition to the good points made by others, I would highlight the unique challenge that temporary faculty face when securing IRB approval, getting time or resources for research, and securing protection from politically motivated attacks. All three are issues I've faced while serving in successive 1-year postdocs, as well as non-tenured faculty appointments.

1) The time it takes to navigate an IRB process while teaching heavy loads on short-term contracts means that I have had to abandon fieldwork in order to focus on publishing. The ability to do new and innovative work takes time. That time is something tenure-line faculty complain about not having while making twice as much money as me and teaching half as many classes.

2) Faculty without access to research leave, sabbatical, or TA support have to do all of their research during the summer break, while trying to edit and submit their publications and conference papers while juggling teaching. The additional requirements of uploading fieldnotes, interview transcripts, etc, could end up pushing me to avoid submitting to journals I otherwise would.

3) While the present climate is hostile towards political science and academia generally, especially here in the South, the need to secure contract re-appointment exerts a subtle pressure to avoid controversy in our publications and teaching. While tenure-line faculty could (but usually don't) use their job security as a platform and privilege for clearly articulating assessments of BAD POLICY, non-tenured professors have to worry about student evaluations, watch-dog groups, and lists of disobedient professors in a totally different way. Asking me to provide total transparency of my research process could very easily provide additional information to those hostile to critical scholarship, which given precarious employment, represents a real threat to my family and well-being.

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