Critical Contingencies Pledge


We recognize that the workforce in higher education is increasingly populated by contingent workers outside of the tenure track.  Contingent work includes, but is not limited to, adjunct and lecturer faculty, postdocs, clinical faculty, part-timers, instructors, TAs, and non-senate faculty.  The US Department of Education reported in 2015 that more than 70% of postsecondary positions nation-wide are held by those employed outside of the tenure track.  This kind of contingent work is financially precarious and ill-resourced, despite the US academy’s financial position. Dance departments continue to depend upon contingent labor, in particular, as the discipline requires studio courses taught by professionals in the field whose expertise often comes from performance careers before terminal degrees.  Additionally, dance and dance studies have been historically on the margins of the academia as a humanities-adjacent field.  To this end, universities and colleges often employ contingent faculty to teach one-off dance and dance studies courses, as tenure lines are not available or prioritized by the institution. Working in academia without a terminal degree creates a particularly precarity and vulnerability for these dance professionals – the hierarchy of academic labor devaluing the very careers and skillsets of choreographers and dance pedagogues that lay the foundation of the field, as they simultaneously train the next generation of performers, scholars, and makers.

The Dance Studies Association proposes standards for equitable treatment and employment of contingent workers in dance and dance studies, and beyond.   We are a community holding each other accountable and insisting that departments recognize and prioritize care and communication, while pushing towards equitable labor practices. Dance is a field that centers the body and recognizes explicit, political intersections of personhood, labor, identity, and radical/collective care.  As a discipline we can be the gold standard for instructional labor practices in the academy. And as institutions continue to build dependency on contingent labor, the Dance Studies Association calls out continued inequities that cannot continue in earnest.


As signatory below, you pledge to the following:

  • Clear communication about contracts, well in advance of the start academic year.
  • Orient to and integrate into the institution and department.
  • Resource classroom spaces responsively.
  • Fair treatment as faculty peer in pedagogy.
  • Support pedagogical development.
  • Push towards more equitable compensation and labor practices.
  • Protect academic freedom in the classroom and through scholarship.


Anonymous Form to Report Breach of Pledge

Contingent workers at pledging institutions may submit an anonymous form HERE to report a breach of pledge.  This is not a legal action, nor can DSA formally investigate any actions.  This an opportunity for DSA leadership to check-in and hold pledging institutions/individuals accountable to their intended actions through private dialogue, with the protection of contingent workers at the forefront.  

This form can also be used for contingent workers to request that DSA reach out to their institutional/departmental leadership, to begin a pledge conversation.