News and Events
A special joint issue of the ADE Bulletin and the ADFL Bulletin, sponsored by the MLA Committee on Contingent Labor in the Profession, gathers articles and reports on contingent faculty issues; the articles are available for download with no login required.
From the introduction:
"In a cluster providing national perspectives on contingent labor, David Laurence collects and analyzes figures regarding employment status, incomes, and working conditions—complex figures that suggest contingent faculty members have a wide range of degree status, incomes (including household incomes), and even professional interests and aspirations. Sue Doe and Mike Palmquist analyze historical and current position statements from professional organizations affiliated with English and language studies, reaching the conclusion that despite long and clear awareness, “our professional organizations—as well as the majority of faculty members in tenure-line positions—have been surprisingly slow to grasp the implications of the growing reliance on faculty who serve in contingent positions.” Jack Longmate argues that the Program for Change, which has improved conditions for contingent faculty at Vancouver Community College, can be implemented broadly across higher education. Among its features is that all faculty members, permanent or probationary, full- or part-time, are compensated according to the same salary schedule.
A second cluster focuses on the experiences of individual schools. Vialla Hartfield-Méndez and Karen Stolley trace the institutional history of lecture-track faculty at Emory University, using the Department of Spanish and Portuguese as a case study. The arc is generally positive, with increasingly improved conditions that complicate historical calls for tenure-track status only; however, recent developments at Emory may—or may not—bend this arc downward. Gillian Steinberg explains a similar set of improvements in the writing program at Yeshiva College, which sought to develop effective job descriptions; institute formal contract renewal policies and graduated contract lengths; eliminate part-time, single-semester positions; and bolster contingent participation in faculty development and administration. Laura Brady and Nathalie Singh-Corcoran also focus on local efforts in a large writing program, at West Virginia University, but with implications for the broad practice of employing non-tenure-track writing program administrators. Their strategy features “a shift away from individual faculty roles and workloads to focus instead on the department and university contexts to which the work contributes.”
Finally, Batya Weinbaum provides a perspective from someone working as a contingent professor. Because of the huge number of people teaching off the tenure track and the vast variety of their circumstances, no one voice can wholly represent or speak for this experience, but Weinbaum’s is a fine-grained narrative of faculty life in all-too-common circumstances."
Senior Teaching Appointment--Colorado State University
The Faculty Council of Colorado State voted into the manual the creation of a new category of teaching faculty, Senior Teachers, who would still function as at-will employees but would enjoy additional rights and responsibilties, including participation in the salary exercise. Except in cases where department codes established otherwise, these faculty, who by definition would have appointments of 50% or better, would have full voting privileges and would not need to reapply for their positions. Although no assurances of a salary increase were made initially, the Provost eventually stipulated that approval of the STA would be associated with a bump to the base pay of all senior teachers. Beyond these stipulations, individual units could apply standards for approval. In English, for instance, only teaching faculty with 10 consecutive semesters of an annual evaluation of "Exceeds Expectations" were eligible and so this action acknowledged the sustained service of exceptional long-term non tenure-track faculty. The appointment can be revoked if the STA has two or more annual evaluations below "Exceeds." In the first year (2011-12), 16 NTTF in the Department of English were granted this designation.
HB1144 Colorado Law Allowing Multi-Year Contracts--Signed by Governor Hickenlooper on April 12, 2012
This statute removes the legal obstacle to offering multi-year contracts (maximum 3 years) to teaching faculty employed by public institutions. Prior to this legislation, all faculty who were not tenured or tenure-track (probationary) were at-will employees, defined as employees who could leave or be terminated for any reason or for no reason. Previous legislation removed the same obstacle for research faculty. As of November 2012, university systems in Colorado were working through the processes for how to offer multi-year contracts.
Current efforts are underway advocating for a merger of the Senior Teaching Appointment with the Multi-Year Contract.