SOCI PhD student Marisa Allison testifies to Congress on contingent faculty

On January 24th, Marisa Allison, Doctoral Student in Sociology, was invited to sit on a Congressional Briefing panel for House Democrats to discuss the working conditions of part-time and contingent faculty in colleges and universities as part of the research and advocacy work she does for the New Faculty Majority Foundation. Marisa’s doctoral research addresses the lack of equity in labor conditions in higher education. “This is the first time Congress has addressed the elephant in the room of higher education”, Allison said, “that the majority of college and university faculty are part-time or contingent instructors, who earn less than a living wage, receive little to no benefits, and are often hired and fired at the last minute when their courses do or do not make. These sorts of practices aren’t good for students, the affected faculty, or the health of universities in the long run, so it’s great to be a part of Congress finally taking note of it.”  Working with three of her colleagues in the sociology doctoral program, Randy Lynn, Vicki Hoverman, and Sara Moore, Marisa surveyed the part time and contingent faculty here at Mason during the Spring 2013 semester. The group will present the findings of their research, along with recommendations, later this semester.