From Heather McLeer, Lecturer – English.
The title of Specialized Faculty suggests that we specialize in teaching; for those of us on 100% teaching appointments, our teaching labor is certainly our most visible labor, particularly in the humanities. While most of us trained in scholarly or creative fields while training as university instructors, this side of our professional identities tends to be overlooked.
I became a Lecturer in the Department of English after graduating from the same department with my Ph.D. in 2017. In the time since completing my degree, I’ve noticed subtle changes in how the scholarly side of my work is (or is not) perceived. I’m more frequently introduced by my NTT status than by my area of study, as graduate students and tenured faculty tend to be identified. In a recent conversation with someone who works outside of academia, I mentioned my plans to spend the upcoming summer preparing to submit an article to a journal. When they asked if I was doing so “just for fun,” I was at a loss for how to (politely) respond to the implication that my scholarship and writing are essentially a hobby.
While it’s undoubtedly true that a full writing-intensive teaching load leaves little time for much else during the semester, I didn’t stop writing, conducting research, or attending conferences when I became Specialized Faculty. As someone who taught a 2-2 load for the majority of my Ph.D., I see my scholarship and my teaching as fundamentally linked parts of my professional identity.
This is why I’m happy to see that professional development funds are one of the items NTFC’s bargaining team is negotiating for in our next contract. Such funds could support a range of activities, from teaching workshops to attending conferences to archival research.
I didn’t stop writing, conducting research, attending conferences, and being otherwise engaged in my field when I became an NTT. Such funding would be a concrete way to acknowledge the full range of my professional activities.