Casual Voices: Julie
Late last year I applied for an ongoing position at a regional university where I have worked as a sessional tutor and lecturer almost continuously since 1993. I was the second ranked applicant, and was told the panel struggled to decide between me and the successful applicant, but finally decided - with great difficulty I was told - on the basis that the other applicant was "from elsewhere" and would bring "fresh new ideas" to the school. Clearly this was not one of the selection criteria. I have supported the career development and taught the courses of those who then decided that I have no "fresh new ideas" to offer. Needless to say, for all these year
s it is their material that I have been teaching, with very few opportunities to teach my own research and expertise. For all these years I have been adaptable, taught whatever I have been asked to teach, filled the gaps and picked up the scraps of work. Like other sessionals, I have felt that all my years of poverty and sacrifice and hard work would one day pay off with an ongoing position. I am not second rate - I am an excellent teacher, receive great student feedback every semester, have an excellent academic record and a PhD in a dynamic and very current area.
It is devastating to feel that more than twenty years of study and hard work has amounted to nothing, and that my years of dedicated sessional experience have been used as a reason NOT to employ me in an ongoing position.