Australian higher education institutions are bound by complex reporting requirements, including of student and staff data, and this data is used in different ways, including in public reporting. It’s a very sensitive matter for universities, particularly as “significant reliance on academic staff employed under casual work contracts” has been identified as an institutional risk (although the Agency that identified this is now itself under review). This means that universities need to provide accurate data on what proportion of their staff are on casual contracts, even while there is still some ambiguity about what constitutes “significant reliance” in different contexts.
Reporting of staff data includes the breakdown of full-time, fractional and casual staff. Casual staff are reported in two ways and at two different reporting intervals: as estimated full-time equivalent, and as end of year FTE count (Actual Casuals). *Thanks to Robyn May for correcting the earlier version of this.
One of the aims of this blog is to collect information and insights from Australian researchers into how data is collected, and how the various different forms of casual engagement with universities work. In particular, we want to look at how and why the Australian experience of “casual” is different from what the US terms “adjunct”, and why the role that we commonly call “adjunct” is here for a different reason, and to enable a different kind of contribution to Australian higher education.
But “actual casuals” is also a resonant term for many of us who are concerned about the impact of extended casual employment on the actual people who undertake this kind of work in universities, across many different units and divisions. If you’d like to contribute a post to us, read Join Us. But if you have an “actual casual” story about working casually, or working with university casuals, that you’d like to leave for others to think about, feel free to share it by replying to this.
What’s happening where you are? What’s working well or less well? Is there something to celebrate? Experienced casuals, do you have tips for managing casual space, casual contracts, casual time sheets, time itself? Share them here.
(And just a caution: before you identify where exactly you work, do remember that actual universities and actual faculties are actually very sensitive.)