Oct 262009
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

Today kicks off Equity Week, a national event that showcases the continuous strain on adjunct instructors and gives a behind-the-scene view of the unfair “university hierarchy.”

Hosted by the American Association of University Professors, this convention aims to raise awareness of adjunct issues such as:

– Contract renewal

– Job security

– Possibilities for advancement

– Insufficient office space and technology

– Inner departmental belonging, and

– Salaries.

The three-day exhibition will illustrate the work of CSU’s adjunct professors and provide an arena for faculty to express their opinions about their work conditions.

Events include: an exhibit of some of the research adjunct professors conduct, a showing of excerpts from Barbara Wolf’s films “Degrees of Shame” and “A Matter of Justice” and a roundtable discussion of the most prominent issues.

Adjunct history instructor Ginger Guardiola said she and her fellow instructors hope to expose some of the lesser-known issues.

She said adjunct professors often sign semester contracts and their job security is in the hands of course enrollment numbers. CSU would be smart to follow in the footsteps of other universities, including CU-Boulder, Guardiola said, and change its adjunct contract policy to resemble a rolling contract, which has no specific end date. The only faculty members with three-year rolling contracts are CSU coaches, she said.

Sue Doe, a former adjunct instructor of English, who is now on the “tenure track,” said that unlike some faculty members who are promoted to tenure track, she underwent a national search to become an assistant professor.

Doe said adjunct instructors have virtually no job security. When a faculty member is hired as a “tenure track” professor, the university has a “different kind of commitment.”

“If you’re tenured, you have lifetime job security, and if you’re on the tenure track, you’re on the avenue of opportunity for job security,” Doe said, later adding that even though her job description has changed, she does handle many of the same tasks she did as an adjunct.

“I would say it’s more of a deviation in my path.”

Interim-Provost and Executive Vice President Rick Miranda said he will be at the roundtable discussion Thursday to outline some of the recent progress the task force and other university entities have made in regard to adjunct faculty issues, such as a recent salary increases.

“It’s not enough. We wish it was more,” Miranda said. “We’re very appreciative of our adjunct staff. We rely on them in critical ways.

He said one of the main goals of the university is for adjunct staff members to be as integrated in their departments as possible so students and faculty member can “derive the full benefit of their expertise.”

Nonetheless, some departments do not invite adjunct instructors to their staff meetings, and there is no adjunct representative on Faculty Council, Guardiola said.

However, many people in the university community want to develop a Faculty Council committee to address adjunct related issues.

“A lot of people feel we are the second tier of faculty,” Gaurdiola said. “But adjuncts do the heavy lifting.”

Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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