Contingent Faculty

Our Vision:

The Contingent Faculty Caucus (CFC) is intended to provide a space for contingent faculty to support and empower each other and build relationships across the U since there is currently no place or space to do so.

The vision for the CFC is to represent the interests and voices of contingent faculty through our campaign to form a faculty union and within the union itself. Our goal in forming a united faculty voice is to support a stabilized instructional staff in order to improve working conditions for all instructors and learning conditions for all students. Together, we can address working conditions that revolve around transparency, pay, stability, career advancement, workload, quality of instruction, funding and research. We can improve learning conditions for our students by creating dialogue and action to support mental and fiscal student health. Uniting as faculty is the way to show the depth of our support for our students.

The CFC aims to collect and clarify the priorities of contingent faculty that we will seek to address in our first union contract. The power of the CFC is derived from a core of contingent faculty engaged in the unionization campaign to assert our voice in the direction and strategy of the greater unionization effort.

Building better connections between all faculty in an effort to address exploitative and divisive labor trends at the U can weaken the hierarchy that impedes authentic collegiality between tenure and non-tenure faculty. A united faculty can negotiate for better working conditions together, not against each other. We can cultivate a more effective relationship with Administration, one that is legally binding, as we continue to shape the state of the U.

If you have any questions or want to get involved, contact Erin Trapp at or Mary Pogatshnik at mpogatshnik@gmail.comTo join our effort, fill out the form at the bottom of this page and an organizer will follow up with you.

Podcast Series:

The MN Academics Podcast series will highlight the unique working conditions and precarity faced by contingent faculty at the University of Minnesota.

Our second podcast features Mary Pogatshnik, a Senior Teaching Specialist in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese. Mary discusses how she got involved in our effort to form a faculty union after receiving her first-ever non-renewal letter after fifteen years at the U of M.

The first podcast features Jason Stahl, a Lecturer in the Department of Organizational, Leadership, Policy and Development in the College of Education and Human Development. Jason describes his own work contributing to the excellence of the University and his own belief that all faculty need the collective power of a union.

News Clips:

Contingent and tenure-line instructors have a common stake in our University – 3/11/16


Quotes From Contingent Faculty Union Supporters:

Share your experience as Contingent Faculty with us here to add it to this page.


William Banks, Lecturer, German, Scandinavian & Dutch

A faculty union will help our students learn because it is the first step in acquiring some degree of employment security for contingent faculty.  The establishment of ongoing mentoring relationships between students and teachers is of course at the very heart of a liberal education.  Under the current regime of single semester, non-binding contracts, the maintenance of such relationships is exceedingly difficult.

Edward Eiffler, Senior Teaching Specialist, Spanish & Portuguese

“One person’s voice is easy to ignore, but when it is combined with the voices of others it becomes overwhelming. Never underestimate the power of organized labor and its ability to level the playing-field with powerful interests.”

Meredith Gill, Senior Teaching Specialist, Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature

“I support forming a faculty union because better contracts for contingent faculty result in higher quality, more consistent education for students.”

Christian Korab, Adjunct Professor, College of Architecture & Design

“The biggest advantage of having a union to contingent faculty is a sense of commitment going both ways. In other words, I’m committed to the University, the University is committed to me.”

Scott Makstenieks, Teaching Specialist

“Simply put, workers are better off when they stand together, and we as instructional faculty are no different. As a nation, we have unfortunately been lead to believe that unions are a drag on our public resources or on our private profits. However, it is simply not the case, especially in higher education. Across the country and certainly here in Minnesota, state support for universities has slowly dwindled, leaving students with higher tuition and faculty with less security, fewer numbers, and greater responsibilities. A union here at the University of Minnesota allows us to stand with our students against the drowning costs of their education. A union here at the University of Minnesota allows us to provide a better education for our students and a more stable future for our families and our communities.”

Mary Pogatshnik, Senior Teaching Specialist, Spanish

“As contingent faculty, I want to be legally bound to administration because I believe that together we can be better stewards of the U of MN. It is by working together, unidos, we will ensure the continued quality of instruction our students deserve.”

Erin Thompson, Teaching Specialist, Theatre Arts & Dance

“I support forming a union because I believe that there needs to be much more equity in adjunct faculty pay across the board at the U of MN. Equity within the CLA and between different departments. I also believe that adjunct faculty members have been grossly taken advantage of and we need more support with job security and pay.”

Erin Trapp, Senior Lecturer, Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature

“I am working to form a union because I think it is the best chance that contingent workers at the U have to guarantee that the terms of their contracts are commensurate with the terms of their passion and dedication to the students, departments, and research in which they work. The energy that I have to put into organizing a union with colleagues across the U helps to counter the disempowering trends of privatization that otherwise seem inevitable. Without a union, decisions that affect the lives and learning of students and workers will continue to be made in the rooms above rather than through collective organizations that can present and argue for the diverse interests of faculty, professionals, and administrators.”