What Chairs Can Do for Contingent Faculty

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Jason King

Abstract

The rise of a distorted business paradigm within Catholic colleges and universities threatens their educational work. Perhaps nowhere is this more obvious than in the rise of contingent faculty, which stands around 40 percent for all Catholic institutions. In this paper, I fi rst set out this business paradigm — called “economism” by John Paul II — and its rise in Catholic higher education. I show how its logic prioritizes the objective dimension of educational work over its subjective dimension and, thus, makes more faculty contingent faculty. In the second part of this paper, I look at how chairs can push back on economism in Catholic higher education through the Church’s social teaching on participation, the right to work, and the dignity of work.

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