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Faculty

A sampling of sabbatical policies at colleges and universities. (Click to enlarge)

There’s a standard practice in academia that’s highly valued; yet, at many colleges and universities, the policies and procedures surrounding it haven’t changed in decades. Until now.

University of Southern California Rossier School of Education Professor Adrianna Kezar, co-director of the Pullias Center on Higher Education, studies the use of adjunct professors.

Adjunct faculty have long played a supporting role in higher education. These often overqualified professors work long hours for comparatively little pay, on the hope that it might lead to a full-time position. But somewhere along the way, the situation changed.

John Fragola (left) and Peter Grady use iPads to monitor the heat inside Dana English Hall on the Mount Carmel campus at Quinnipiac University. Both are licensed HVAC mechanics in the facilities department.

Members of the facilities crew at Quinnipiac University were spending a lot of time traveling back to their shop during the workday.

This situation, of course, was not unique to Quinnipiac, but department officials at the school set out to eliminate the trips workers had to make to retrieve new work orders, find information about equipment in manuals or look up floor plans. The central Connecticut institution has a 212-acre main campus, and two branches that are a half-mile and about five miles away.

Higher ed leaders are enhancing orientations to bring adjuncts to campus who are more likely to improve student outcomes.

An email from the department chair with a building and classroom number, a schedule, a syllabus, and instructions for getting a parking permit is about all the orientation many adjuncts receive before arriving on campus to teach their first class. It’s no wonder many of them don’t assimilate into campus.

As leaders at some institutions have realized, it’s not enough to offer just an orientation for adjuncts. Additional training and support after the initial orientation has ended is good practice. For example, at National Louis University in Illinois, Linda Kryzak launched the Post-Training Café in March 2013 as an online forum for faculty members to support one another and share ideas.

  1. Pay adjuncts for attending the orientation session
  2. Invite adjuncts on staff to participate
  3. Allow a range of campus departments to make presentations
  4. Give campus tours
  5. Host a getting-acquainted meal
  6. Provide online sessions for convenience and review

Subordinated and marginalized. That’s how faculty of color at community colleges are feeling.

Job listings for Ph.D.'s in the social sciences and humanities continue to recover from low points hit during the Great Recession, says a new report from the American Sociological Association.

Listing for positions in two disciplines, sociology and communications, have even surpassed pre-Recession peaks, according to “On the Road to Recovery: Findings from the ASA 2012-2013 Job Bank Survey.”

Disputes over intellectual property (IP) rights have been around as long as faculty members have been producing ideas. Whether it’s a cure for a disease, a textbook, or even a syllabus, ownership and IP rights are dictated by a policy at every college and university in the United States.

Clark Kerr, one-time president of the University of California system, once characterized the university as “a series of individual faculty entrepreneurs held together by a common grievance over parking.” It’s a lighthearted definition, but one rooted in truth.

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