Part-time troubles

September 29, 2016

I wonder if any other part-time lecturers have had my recent experience. Last May, I was delighted when a college of the University of London accepted my proposal to teach a third-year undergraduate module, and the first lecture was timetabled for 26 September. But I was never offered a contract or told what the pay would be, and eventually I had no option but to withdraw.

I expected to spend much of the summer preparing and was surprised that the college did not send me a contract immediately, as any other employer would have done. In June, one was promised for “later in the summer” – probably July, I thought. Then it was to be early September; by 8 September it was “next week”, and on the 16th that turned into “within the next couple of weeks”.

I replied that that was too late, and four days later I formally withdrew. If I had been offered a contract that afternoon, it would already have been far, far too late.

I worked as an emergency lecturer in the department last year and was much appreciated all round. “The students love you,” several people told me. However, I was disappointed with the pay, and this time I needed to know how much it would be before committing myself.

In the commercial world, working without paid holidays or a pension or the security of knowing that in three months’ time you will have an income translates into more pay pro rata. At universities, it seems to be the opposite.

I have informed some of the students why the module is not running, since I can be sure the department will not tell them the real reason. I sincerely hope they will make a formal complaint.

Tom Lines
Brighton


Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@tesglobal.com
Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday.
View terms and conditions.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A group of flamingos and a Marabou stork

A right-wing philosopher in Texas tells John Gill how a minority of students can shut down debates and intimidate lecturers – and why he backs Trump

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands