The working conditions of contingent faculty members will be highlighted Wednesday and Thursday as part of Campus Equity Week. This university-wide event aims to bring attention to trends within academia that potentially threaten to limit the spectrum of opinions offered to students in CSU classrooms.
In academic life, the way individuals are treated depends largely on whether their position is classified as â€œtenure-trackâ€ or â€œspecial and temporary,â€ otherwise known as â€œcontingentâ€ or â€œadjunct.â€
Compared to their tenure-track colleagues, contingent faculty typically receive half pay, substantially less office space, restricted access to university materials, usually cannot participate in discussions concerning any department changes and teach approximately one-half of all classes offered at the university. This means they have no time to conduct research, which is necessary in order to be competitive in applying to be a tenure-track professor.
But the biggest difference between the two positions is that, by Colorado state law, special and temporary faculty members only have their jobs for one year. After that, they must reapply to the university. In the meantime, officials can fire them â€“â€“ or they can leave â€“â€“ without reason.
â€œYouâ€™re free to go, and theyâ€™re free to let you go,â€ said Laura Thomas, an instructor in CSUâ€™s English department.
This atmosphere, she said, can limit the perspectives a given lecturer can provide in class.
â€œThe primary benefits of tenure is academic freedom,â€ Thomas said. â€œThat is to say, faculty would not feel pressured by students or their peers or administration to present certain points of view.â€
Steven Schulman, chair of CSUâ€™s department of economics, put it a different way.
â€œItâ€™s like feudalism,â€ he said. â€œWe have the tenured faculty, theyâ€™re like the nobility. And we have the adjunct faculty. Theyâ€™re much larger in number, and do a large amount of the work. Theyâ€™re like the serfs.â€
During Campus Equity Week, the College of Liberal Arts Adjunct Faculty Committee is facilitating workshops on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in Lory Student Center room 203, and Thursday, Oct. 27 at 10 a.m. in LSC room 203 and 3 p.m. in LSC room 211E. These workshops will specify contingent faculty issues at CSU.
One of these issues is the fact that the amount of tenure-track positions are staying the same while the amount of qualified people to fill them are increasing.
â€œIn the mid-1970s, about 70 percent of faculty were on the tenure-track,â€ said Sue Doe, an English department assistant professor. â€œNow nationally, those numbers have just about reversed.â€
Added Schulman: â€œThey are almost invisible on the campus. We always talk about the faculty in terms of regular faculty, yet we have more than half of the courses being taught on campus by adjunct faculty.â€
Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at email@example.com.
98 Tenure-Track Faculty
22 Special and Temporary Faculty
Applied Human Sciences
109 Tenure-Track Faculty
115 Special and Temporary Faculty
59 Tenure-Track Faculty
40 Special and Temporary Faculty
101 Tenure-Track Faculty
12 Special and Temporary Faculty
226 Tenure-Track Faculty
221 Special and Temporary Faculty
169 Tenure-Track Faculty
40 Special and Temporary Faculty
Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
153 Tenure-Track Faculty
73 Special and Temporary Faculty
Warner College of Natural Resources
60 Tenure-Track Faculty
6 Special and Temporary Faculty
Total university tenured-track faculty: 1,000
Total university special and temporary faculty: 540