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facultyRe: The College Strike Should be Over, the idea that partial-load contracts are "precarious" or that students being taught by partial-load instructors somehow suffer from supposed uncertainty is not an opinion shared by everyone involved.

The truth is, many partial-load instructors (like myself) are quite happy being *partial-load* instructors - with the freedom to accept offers from the college - or not - according to their various life circumstances. I think that Mr. McLaren constrains the context by envisioning instructors 'scrabbling' from contract-to-contract in order to put together a full-time schedule. Partial-load instructors exist to ensure that the instruction students are receiving is practical, up-to-date and grounded in the actual workplace. The idea that instructors who are not otherwise working in their area of specialization might attempt to aggregate a quasi-full-time schedule ("three semesters in a row") is at cross-purposes with the benefits of having instructors who are also currently engaged in their careers. The colleges also employ full-time professors, most of whom have graduate degrees and who provide a different point-of-view: perhaps less grounded in the workplace but with deeper understanding of the theory that is important for fostering innovation. There is a path that leads to such a career.

This "two-pronged" approach to providing instruction is one of the outstanding advantages of Ontario colleges. From the students' perspective, I don't believe that high turnover among partial-load or contract staff (if true) is a cause for concern. One could argue that:
a) it keeps perspectives coming from the workplace into the classroom varied and fresh and that
b) it minimizes the possibility of 'staleness' creeping into year-after-year repetitive instruction
Both of these things benefit students and are, frankly "conducive for a good education".

So for myself (and a number of my colleagues), the argument has little to do with 'precarious' work and everything to do with what is best for students' learning. I perceive that this point-of-view is missing from media coverage.

Robin Fleguel
Orillia, ON






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