You are here

Faculty

Rick Cherwitz is a professor in the Moody College of Communication and faculty fellow in the Division of Diversity & Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.

The “faculty contract” is a process by which faculty, in consultation with their departments and colleges, negotiate—and then, over the course of time—renegotiate their work product. This would institute greater flexibility and autonomy in determining the work product of faculty.

Students at UC San Diego walked out in solidarity with adjuncts at the university.

Faculty and students who demonstrated during the first National Adjunct Walkout Day on Feb. 25 aimed to raise awareness about the working conditions faced by part-time instructors. Despite the day’s title, walkouts were not only discouraged by many unions, but illegal in some states.

The United University Professions (UUP), SUNY’s labor union, has defended funding for public higher education—which has decreased nationwide by about 25 percent since the Great Recession. (Only two states, Alaska and North Dakota, have increased funding.)

The temperature around higher education unionizing efforts often runs hot. Officials are reluctant to have outside labor groups on campus or to relinquish control over important personnel decisions—including pay, benefits and other sensitive employee issues. But should higher ed leaders fear unionization efforts?

John H. Frederick is provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Each year, the market for tenure-eligible faculty positions becomes more and more competitive, and a greater number of newly minted Ph.D. graduates struggle to find a job. The U.S. annually produces about 70,000 new doctoral graduates, representing a significant investment of time and money by both the students and their universities.

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.

Pages