Could University Sessional Instructors Be Directly Compensated by Their Students in an Age of Academic Capitalism?


  • Ian Winchester



One of the striking phenomena of our time in universities across Canada is the large presence of sessional instructors in both undergraduate and graduate
programs. This is partly due to the increasing production of people with doctorates who would like to be part of the university professorate but for whom there are little fulltime job opportunities. Universities in Canada are not in a steady expansion phase of the sort that was common immediately after the Second World War and in the early 1960s and 1970s. Many universities may be expected to increase their student numbers, often students from outside
Canada who pay higher fees, but are not expected to increase their permanent faculty numbers. In many cases the reward for engaging in this expansion of student numbers is more money directly to departmental or Faculty coffers. But there is no guarantee that these numbers or this money will hold. So the solution is to hire recent doctoral graduates who can teach the courses but to whom no immediate prospect of a permanent, tenure track job can be offered.