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Abstract

The variety of titles for non-tenure-track, part-time, contingent faculty and their semantic meanings are explored. The terms are not random when looked at collectively, but rather form a pattern which is indicative of contemporary post-secondary academic employment and culture. More specifically, these titles reflect several characteristics of the faculty who bear them: among others, the fact that they are not in full-time employment, the fact that their contracts are for shorter periods of time than those of tenure-track faculty, and the fact that their contracts reflect an expectation of impermanence in employment. Also expressed in the titles are more nuanced attitudes about these non-tenure-track faculty, how they serve the colleges and universities where they work, what expectations there are for them as employees, and how they are viewed by their colleagues and the administration. Finally, changes in these titles over time point to changing attitudes and, occasionally, the effect of unionization with its collective bargaining agreements on the status of these employees.

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