Australian universities are increasingly reliant on sessional academics to deliver a significant proportion of teaching, and in some cases the majority of undergraduate courses are delivered by sessional staff. Across the globe these teachers are variously labeled as contingent, part-time, temporary or adjunct whereas in Australia and New Zealand they are somewhat uniquely categorised as ‗casual‘ or ‗sessional‘ employees. The irony is that their employment experience is far from casual. Previous research reports that such employees though typically committed to their teaching, their students and their discipline, are isolated from the broader academic community and disconnected from formal and informal learning opportunities. The paradox is that this group of teachers is pivotal in the learning experience of students, particularly in the early years of higher education. We invited a group of 130 sessional lecturers, tutors and markers at an Australian regional university to participate in an online survey to report on their perceptions and experiences of being a sessional academic. Our results contain similarities with and differences to earlier studies, in particular, sessional academics appear to be aging in a similar manner to tenured academics and an increasing number of sessionals are desirous of tenure.
10th Annual Pacific Employment Relations Association (PERA) Conference: Sustainability, Inclusiveness and Governance: People management issues in the organisation of the future. 10th Annual Pacific Employment Relations Association Conference: Proceedings, Part II (Gold Coast, Qld 15-18 November, 2010) p. 93-105