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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Department of Learning, Technology and Leadership Education

Abstract

“If education is the cornerstone of the structure of society and if progress in scientific knowledge is essential to civilization, few things can be more important than to enhance the dignity of the scholar’s profession, with a view to attracting into it’s ranks [professionals] of the highest ability, sound learning, and of strong and independent character.” (American Association of University Professors, 2010, p.294) The American Association of University Professors’ 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure hold true for nearly all faculty members in higher education, with the exception of contingent faculty. Today, contingent faculty members make up somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of the instructional faculty who teach college courses (Modarelli, 2006; Monks, 2009;). Many of these contingent faculty members have successfully completed collective bargaining campaigns in order to create a fair milieu for themselves (California Part-time Faculty Association, n.d.; Yoshioka, 2007). However, when it comes to contingent faculty members in a state that prohibits collective bargaining, issues arise around whether or not these individuals are truly academically free. This qualitative research investigates contingent faculty members at a mid-sized university in a state that prohibits collective bargaining, specifically examining the perceptions of contingent faculty members regarding their own academic freedom. This research explains the perceptions of contingent faculty members who are employed in such a state and closes the research gap pertaining to academic freedom, collective bargaining, and contingent faculty members. Implications of this research will be used to better the environment that contingent faculty members currently face while employed by an institution that prohibits collective bargaining.

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