Thursday, December 31, 2009
The flexibilization of college education
In the last few days, I have been talking with friends about the state of college education in Spain. In recent years setting the foot in the professorship ladder has become increasingly difficult as new low-paying and insecure contracts (like "profesor asociado") have become more popular. The crisis is likely to accelerate this trend and reduce the amount of young people that have stable, long term contracts that allow them to build their career as researchers. What is most surprising is that the situation is not so dissimilar in countries with more advanced university systems. The NYT, for example, reports today that "n 1960, 75 percent of college instructors were full-time tenured or tenure-track professors; today only 27 percent are. The rest are graduate students or adjunct and contingent faculty". The end result may be less research, worse employment conditions for academics and less stability in education outcomes.