Status Committee on Contingent Faculty in the Profession

The goal of the Committee on the Status of Contingent Faculty in the Profession is to bring attention to issues that impact contingent faculty in the discipline and to determine how APSA can best engage and support them.  

Committee Members

    Term expiring August 2026

    David Selby, Sacramento State University

    Joel Winkleman, Hamilton College

    Term expiring August 2025
    Co-Chair: Jonathan Ring, University of Tennessee

    Deborah Toscano, Delgado Community College and University of New Orleans

    Term expiring August 2024

    Michael Widmeier, Webster University
    Co-Chair: Eunsook Jung, University of Wisconsin-Madison

 Our committee accomplished 7 goals during its first 3 years (2016-2019):

  • Organized a panel at APSA Annual Meetings (2017-2019). See titles below.
  • Completed a polling of contingent faculty in political science and analyzed the result, thanks to committee member Peter Francia, in collaboration with the East Carolina University Center for Survey Research. See the summary results of the survey here.
  • Drafted guidelines for an APSA "principled position" on the status of contingent faculty in the profession, which were developed during the 2018 APSA Diversity & Inclusion Hackathon and through further discussions. The APSA Council has reviewed the document and sent back for further discussion.
  • Contributed a Spotlight feature (8 short articles) in PS, Political Science and Politics, July 2019.
  • Developed working connections with other APSA status committees, on current and future panels, and receptions at the Annual Meeting.
  • Allocated financial resources for the committee's current and future activities.
  • Recruited outstanding candidates for all vacancies on the committee.

Building on the strong foundational work of the 2016-2019 committee, the committee accomplished these goals during the 2020-2023 period:

  • The status committee wrote the Contingent Faculty Minimum Standards: Guidelines for Political Science Departments. These guidelines are meant to serve as a tool for informing department chairs, contingent faculty, and the faculty at large about the kinds of teaching and research supports, material compensations, mentorship, and protections that contingent faculty should expect from their political science department.  These guidelines were approved by APSA Council in April 2023 and added to the updated Ethics Guide (see pages 49-51)
  • The committee also provided language for the Ethics Guide about the ethical treatment of contingent faculty within the profession, including timely communication regarding contracts and protections of academic freedom (page 30).
  • The committee continues to work on publicizing the APSA-approved language concerning the protections for contingent faculty as laid out in the Ethics Guide (including the minimum standards). 
  • Organized roundtables at the APSA Annual Meeting. See titles below.
  • Allocated financial resources for the committee's current and future activities.
  • Recruited outstanding candidates for all vacancies on the committee.
  • Discussed the particular challenges contingent faculty face due to increasing threats to academic freedom. This issue is particularly important as many contingent political science faculty find themselves teaching subjects that some consider controversial. Not having the protections of tenure can profoundly shape how contingent faculty teach these topics. Moving forward, the status committee will work to find ways in which APSA can help protect the academic freedom of contingent faculty. 

Roundtables at APSA Annual Meetings

  • Adjuncts: Lived Experiences and Policy Changes in Academia (2017)
  • Confronting the Elephant in the Room: Departments of Political Science and their Contingent Faculty (2018)
  • Debate on "Diversity": Does Contingent Faculty Represent a New "Diversity" Category? (2019)
  • Our Future in Our Hands: How to Handle the Gig Academe (2020)
  • Creating Minimum Standards for Employing Contingent Faculty in the Profession (2021)
  • Contingency and Academic Freedom (2022)