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The Gig Academy

Mapping Labor in the Neoliberal University

Adrianna Kezar, Tom DePaola, and Daniel T. Scott

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Why the Gig Academy is the dominant organizational form within the higher education economy—and its troubling implications for faculty, students, and the future of college education.

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…

Why the Gig Academy is the dominant organizational form within the higher education economy—and its troubling implications for faculty, students, and the future of college education.

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.

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The Gig Academy

Adrianna Kezar, Tom DePaola, and Daniel T. Scott

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Reviews

Reviews

The Gig Academy is a wonderful précis on the dire state of the modern American university.

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

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.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
264
ISBN
9781421432700
Illustration Description
2 charts
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1. Putting the Gig Academy in Context: Neoliberalism and Academic Capitalism
Chapter 2. Employees in the Gig Academy: Insecure, Isolated, Exploited, and Devalued
Cha

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1. Putting the Gig Academy in Context: Neoliberalism and Academic Capitalism
Chapter 2. Employees in the Gig Academy: Insecure, Isolated, Exploited, and Devalued
Chapter 3. Disintegrating Relationships and the Demise of Community
Chapter 4. How Employment Practices Negatively Impact Student Learning and Outcomes
Chapter 5. The Growth of Unions and New Broad-Based Organizing Strategies
Chapter 6. Whither the Struggle: Future Trends, Policies, and Actions
Notes
References
Index

Author Bios
Featured Contributor

Adrianna Kezar

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.
Featured Contributor

Tom DePaola

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.
Featured Contributor

Daniel T. Scott

Daniel T. Scott is a PhD student at the University of Southern California and a researcher with the Pullias Center's Delphi Project.