Adjunct News

Taylor Fontes

‘Imperative for Change’

Posted on: February 27th, 2013 by Taylor Fontes No Comments

Under the auspices of the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success and The University of Southern California-based initiative, two new reports have been released which have the potential to further the agenda to improve working conditions for adjunct professors. Both reports are intended to supplement the Delphi Project campus guides and to make the case for creating reform task forces.

The first report titled The Imperative for Change: Understanding the Necessity of Changing Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Policies and Practices deals with the impact increasing employment of adjuncts and student learning.   The findings indicate that as adjunct employment goes up, graduation and retention rates go down.  The researchers underscore that this is not the fault of the adjunct but is the result of poor working conditions and lack of support for adjuncts.  The report also reiterates the disparity in wages, benefits job stability and shared governance between adjunct faculty and tenured/tenure-track faculty.  The deplorable conditions have finally led to adjuncts filing lawsuits against their employers.

The Second Report called Path to Change provides a set of case studies consisting of “real-life models of healthy integration of adjunct professors in to the greater faculty body.”  The cases reveal what steps adjuncts and advocates of adjuncts rights have taken in order to raise awareness of adjunct issues and to propose real reform that has resulted in verifiable progress.

Editorial Comment:

As part of our own efforts to address the needs and concerns of Hofstra’s contingent faculty, the Hofstra AAUP will be conducting a survey of all active* contingent faculty members within the next few months.

The goal of the survey is two-fold:

1) To obtain accurate and comprehensive statistics on our contingent faculty to strengthen our database and enhance our knowledge of our membership; and

2) To solicit feedback on the most pressing concerns facing contingent faculty in order to plan our agenda for the next contract negotiations.

This survey is not only important in that it will allow us to better serve our contingent faculty in an unprecedented manner – (a population which now outnumbers full-time faculty) – but it will also contribute to the viability of the chapter overall.

Over the past year, thanks to advocacy groups like the New Faculty Majority, we have been able to obtain more and more demographic data on contingent faculty across the country.  And while this is of tremendous value, we believe that every faculty is unique.  We are optimistic that this survey will constitute a major step toward building a union that is prepared for the challenges of today’s academic environment.

In order to achieve our goals we must all be willing to take the actions necessary to do so.  Therefore, if you are chosen to complete a survey we ask that you be thoughtful and truthful about your responses.  Remember: your survey is completely confidential.  And please be aware that the sample will be random; we rely upon a high response rate in order to report the most accurate and representative statistics possible.

We will be reminding contingent faculty periodically to check for the survey while it is being devised.

* Active contingent faculty members are those who are in the bargaining unit per article 2.2 of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and are currently teaching during the semester in which the survey is administered.

To read the article by Colleen Flaherty go to:

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/02/22/usc-based-initiative-releases-new-tools-adjuncts-and-their-advocates

To read the 1st report go to:

http://imperative.thechangingfaculty.org

To read the second report go to:

http://path.thechangingfaculty.org

Taylor Fontes

Don’t Call Me That

Posted on: February 6th, 2013 by Taylor Fontes No Comments

An adjunct faculty member at Queens College CUNY who teaches an introductory course in labor studies has advised her students not to call her “professor” in order to draw more attention to the difference in pay and working conditions between tenured and tenure-track faculty and adjunct faculty.  The exercise is particularly relevant for her course, as it serves as a “case study” which reveals how universities cover up hiring practices, wages and labor relations.  Her syllabus explains that adjuncts are paid only for their time in the classroom and that time spent preparing materials, meeting with students and grading papers are at the adjunct’s expense.  Several years ago an organization of teaching assistants and other non-tenure track faculty members drafted the CUNY Adjunct Project, which advocates for the 10,500 adjuncts in the CUNY system.  Their goal is to educate students about adjuncts so that they might be part of a solution to raise employment standards for adjunct faculty.

Editorial Comment:

At the end of the article, New Faculty Majority president Maria Maisto points to the potential drawbacks of telling students to avoid addressing their adjunct instructors as “professor.”  The main concern is that it somehow sends a message that adjuncts are less qualified than their tenure-track counterparts.  And since we know that this is not true, there must be a way to raise student awareness of adjunct working conditions without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  Adjuncts have earned their “professor” status, and it is not fair that they should have to relinquish this title in self-abnegation in order to make a political statement.  That said, by delineating what makes an adjunct an adjunct in the course syllabus seems a mitigating strategy to educate students without denigrating adjuncts.

 

To read the full article by Colleen Flaherty go to:

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/02/06/cuny-adjuncts-ask-not-be-called-professors-course-syllabuses-highlight-working

 

 

 

Taylor Fontes

Making Room for the Majority

Posted on: January 23rd, 2013 by Taylor Fontes No Comments

This week the AAUP released its final version of the report on the role of adjunct faculty in governance.  The original draft, reviewed and released back in June, contains recommendations to extend voting rights, governance and leadership to adjunct faculty.  Adjunct faculty comprise three-fourths of faculty across academe, and without a role in governance they are essentially a majority without power.  The report includes in its recommendations more rigorous hiring practices for adjuncts and protective language for adjuncts who participate in governance and may voice contrary opinions from those of tenured and tenure-track faculty.  Experts on adjunct issues such as Maria Maisto of the New Faculty Majority believe that these efforts are timely and crucial to the safeguarding high quality education.

To read the entire article by Colleen Flaherty go to:

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/01/23/aaup-recommends-more-adjunct-faculty-participation-governance