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Promising Departmental Practices for Precarious Teachers

Supplemental materials to the Conversation Guide. If possible, read / view one of these documents prior to the conversation activity.


In English

“Precarious Historical Instructors’ Manifesto”, Active History (February 2020) https://activehistory.ca/2020/02/precarious-historical-instructors-manifesto/.

Testimonials by Catherine Murton Stoehr (47:27 – 51:54) and Ian Mosby (56:37 – 59:50) “Engaged | Engagés, A CHA Webinar Series on Precarity I” (CHA’s Youtube Channel, 2020) https://youtu.be/2dQvlxnwn8w.

Testimonials by Andrea Eidinger (6:59 – 13:32) and David Tough (23:39 – 33:37) “Engaged | Engagés – A CHA Webinar Series on Precarity II” (CHA’s Youtube Channel, 2021) https://youtu.be/ym_uqt1S1_s.

“The Faces of Precarity” CAUT Bulletin (October 2017) https://www.caut.ca/bulletin/2017/10/faces-precarity.

In French

« Les visages de la précarité », Bulletin de l’ACPPU (octobre 2017) https://www.caut.ca/fr/bulletin/2017/10/les-visages-de-la-precarite.

« De l’ombre à la lumière: Les expériences du personnel académique contractuel » (ACPPU, septembre 2018). Particulièrement les pages 4-5, 25-27, 34-39.  https://www.caut.ca/sites/default/files/rapport_pac.pdf.

Témoignages de Godefroy Desrosiers-Lauzon (5:38 – 10:40) et de Christine Gauthier (41:38 – 43:46) « Engaged | Engagés – Une série de webinaires de la SHC : la précarité II » (chaîne Youtube de la SHC, 2021) https://youtu.be/tfy7JdWVR48.

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Summary Table of Promising Practices

Principles & Actions


Outreach: Meet with new precarious instructors (PIs) and let them know about the resources available at the department and the institution. Ask them what the department can do to improve their working conditions.

Checklist: Prepare a document that lists resources, academic regulations, standards and templates for course outlines and evaluations, and contacts in the department and elsewhere in the institution.

Representation: Help PIs elect one or more representatives to the department. Offer to host a general meeting with the PIs, at least once a year. Greet them, inform them, answer their questions/comments, and let them continue the meeting in camera.

Professional information: Inform PIs in your unit of upcoming job openings, the course schedule for upcoming terms, courses taught by graduate students. Inform PIs of program revisions in your unit.

Explain, regularize, communicate rules and procedures related to hiring, evaluation, professional support and teaching.Value the contribution of PIs in your department’s course offerings. Promote their research and publications. Post PI’s profiles on your department’s web page.


Provide PIs in your unit with resources equivalent to those available to full-time faculty. An office equipped with a computer and telephone; access to a photocopier and scanner; ensure that this equipment is kept up to date.

Teaching Assistants: Inform PIs promptly of the TA hours assigned to their courses. Inform them of the rule that determines the number of hours. Offer them a list of candidates. Maximize the hours for courses taught by PIs.

Share teaching resources: syllabi, slide presentations, etc. Offer PIs guest speakers in courses they teach, offer them paid lectures in other departmental courses.


Representation: Ask PIs to elect two representatives and invite these individuals to attend the department’s meetings. Invite their representatives to departmental committees, especially the one responsible for undergraduate studies. Include a “precarious faculty” item on the agenda. Pay them for their work representing PIs.

Education planning: Invite PI representatives to sit on committees that review curricula, course offerings, and plan course offerings. Consider the working conditions and strengths of PIs in your unit when planning course offerings.

Invite PIs to your department’s social events.

Support governance reforms that allow PIs and student representatives to sit and vote on institutional and faculty committees/assemblies with voting rights.


Compensation: Ensure that PIs are compensated for their work: preparation of syllabi, course preparation, grading of assignments/exams, administrative duties, representation.

Seniority: Inform PIs in your unit of teaching opportunities. Assign teaching loads based on seniority and teaching experience, with a right of first refusal. Explain and communicate seniority and hiring rules. Inform PIs of new opportunities after the employment relationship is terminated.

Student Teaching: Graduate student teaching must be subject to the same conditions (status, rights, salary, seniority, TAs, etc.) as that of Graduate PIs. Pay PIs and graduate students who lecture in your department. Graduate funding should not be used to pay for graduate student teaching. Limit the number of teaching loads offered to graduate students.Provide coaching and mentoring for new PIs.

Teaching evaluation: Offer support to PIs who receive a low rating in student evaluations of teaching. Treat these evaluations as opinion polls. Avoid punitive measures except in cases of misconduct.

Rights: Precarious faculty have the same rights as permanent faculty. Fairness, academic freedom, intellectual property, labor standards, support for teaching, due process and transparency…

Support the demands of PIs and their representatives, through your association/union, and through your faculty and institutional administrative functions.


Access to professional resources: Support PIs’ access to your institution’s research and teaching support services, and access to training and development offerings. 

Research and Outreach: Integrate PIs into your department’s research teams and projects and pay for their work. Support their research, publications, funding and job search. Contribute to their travel expenses and participation in research and outreach activities.

Regularize this support. Post PI profiles on your department’s web page.Tenure: Consider PIs in your department for tenure-track positions, and support their job search. Explore the possibility of offering them longer term teaching contracts.