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Over the past thirty years the commons has experienced dramatic change in both its level of funding and redistribution of functions to the market. These trends have contributed to the restructuring of public higher education's labor force. The shift from a full-time to part-time labor force is increasingly being joined to market-based profit-making ventures associated with online learning. These recent developments represent a third stage of part-time faculty development within the academy. The architecture for maximizing online revenue in an era of intensifying austerity is underpinned by “cheap labor.” Importantly it is in the dynamic between cheap labor and online learning that many public university administrators have identified their alternative to a steady regimen of starvation budgets.