Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Presented at the Higher Education in Transformation Symposium November 2 - 4, 2016 in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Based on a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded study of college faculty and administrators in BC (part of a national study), we documented inequities that can be related to class, ethnoracial, and gender stratification. Participants in Early Childhood Education (ECE), practical nursing and literacy explained how government restructuring disadvantaged poorer women students, and placed heavy workloads on faculty and students. These feminized vocational fields are vulnerable to instability in the “new” college in which the “flexible” worker is the norm. Our interviews took place in former university colleges, and urban as well as rural colleges. We document how some strategies magnified these disparities after restructuring, while others attempted to address the problem. For example, faculty all took upon themselves the responsibility for delivering their programs; unions tried to protect vulnerable workers through new clauses in the collective agreement; and one institution repositioned itself as an elite college. We recount theories of interviewees about the basis of the inequities; some clearly identified the consequences of government interventions as a devaluation of women, children and the poor. Our paper begins to search for ways in which these structural realities might be addressed by various stakeholders.