The Future of Political Science – Discussion Panels at the 2020 APSA Annual Meeting

By Susan Orr, Chair of the Committee on the Status of Contingent Faculty in the Profession, and Christina Sciabarra and Eric Schwartz, Co-chairs of the Committee on the Status of Community Colleges in the Profession

There is no more important time to discuss the future of our profession. Two APSA status committees invite you to do just that at this year’s virtual annual meeting.

The Committee on the Status of Contingent Faculty in the Profession will host Daniel T. Scott, co-author of The Gig Academy, who will lead a conversation about the problem of precarious work in the academe. Scott’s work addresses the trend toward “gig” work in higher education across both academic and non-academic spheres. He and his co-authors not only document the trend but offer a “call to arms…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.” This call fits precisely with a primary goal of the status committee this year – namely to broaden the conversation about contingency beyond those who currently occupy such position and a few concerned allies.

The Committee on the Status of Contingent Faculty in the Profession was formed in 2016 and aims to bring attention to issues that impact contingent faculty in the discipline and to determine how APSA can best engage and support them. The work of the committee to date has included a survey of contingent faculty and development of a set of principles, or minimum standards, for contingent work in the profession. To date, the conversation about contingent employment has not reached too far beyond those immediately effected – the committee would like to change that. We hope that this panel will spark an ongoing dialogue about how contingency impacts us all and how we might collectively mitigate its impact.

Panel details are as follows:  Our Future in Our Hands: How to Handle the Gig Academe, Fri, September 11, 10:00 to 11:30am MDT. You need not have read the book to join the conversation. No preparation is expected. Just bring your ideas and join the conversation.

The Committee on the Status of Community Colleges in the Profession is hosting a roundtable discussion drawing on the findings from Nathan Grawe’s Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education (2018).  The focus of discussion is the ways in which community colleges are working to address decreasing enrollment by increasing retention and completion, a trend that is becoming increasingly relevant for all levels of higher education. More specifically, participants will discuss the development and impact of First Year Seminars, implementation and impact of the Guided Pathways model, the role and future of adjuncts in the system, and innovative ways to address enrollment.

Since its creation more than four years ago, the Committee on the Status of Community Colleges in the Profession has initiated a range of actions including, but not limited to: compiling a database of political science community college faculty members, establishing the APSA Community College Faculty Award, and making regular contributions to the Community College Corner section of the PS Educator – the Political Science Education organized section’s newsletter.

Panel Details are as follows: Surviving the Drop: How Community Colleges are Working to Serve Students While Surviving Demographic Shifts, Sun, September 13, 12:00 to 1:30pm MDT.