AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

STANDARDS OF GOOD PRACTICE IN THE EMPLOYMENT OF PART-TIME/ADJUNCT FACULTY

WHEREAS, a substantial decline in the availability of full-time tenured positions for higher education faculty, coupled with an explosion in the employment of qualified but economically and professionally exploited part-time/adjunct faculty, has become a deeply disturbing pattern in American higher education; and

 

WHEREAS, part-time/adjunct faculty members serve with great distinction on campuses across the country, making an invaluable contribution to their students and the institutions that employ them; and

 

WHEREAS, part-time/adjunct faculty, despite their substantial credentials and proven effectiveness in the classroom, are often paid poorly and receive few, if any, medical or fringe benefits; lack employment security or protection against arbitrary dismissal; receive little or no payment or encouragement to hold student office hours or participate in the academic affairs of the institution; and are, therefore, required to rise above adverse and unreasonable circumstances in order to deliver quality education; and

 

WHEREAS, organizing and improving the wages and working conditions of part-time/adjunct faculty have long been top AFT priorities, as a result of which AFT now represents about 50,000 part-time/adjunct faculty, more than any other union; and

 

WHEREAS, AFT and its affiliates have been able to win substantial improvements in the wages and working conditions of their part-time/adjunct members through collective bargaining and activity in the political arena, although much more needs to be done; and

 

WHEREAS, AFT's higher education program and policy council, after soliciting input from full- and part-time/adjunct faculty members around the country, developed a set of Standards of Good Practice in the Employment of Part-time/Adjunct Faculty to serve as the basis for further AFT advocacy on part-time/adjunct faculty issues:

 

RESOLVED, that the AFT endorse the principles encompassed in the Standards of Good Practice in the Employment of Part-time/Adjunct Faculty; and

 

RESOLVED, that the AFT endorse the following "Standards of Compensation" enunciated in the Standards of Good Practice:

  • part-time/adjunct faculty should be paid a salary proportional to that paid full time tenured faculty of the same qualifications for doing the same work;
  • part-time/adjunct faculty should receive pro-rated sick leave, accrued sick days  and pay for holidays and breaks;
  • part-time/adjunct faculty should receive disability, health care and pension benefits;
  • part-time/adjunct faculty should be paid for holding office hours for student conferences;
  • if full pro rata pay has not yet been achieved, part-time/adjunct faculty who participate in institutional committees should be compensated for doing so; and
  • part-time/adjunct faculty should have unemployment insurance available to them when they are not on the college payroll; and

 

RESOLVED, that the AFT endorse the "Employment Standards" set out in the Standards of Good Practice:

  • part-time/adjunct faculty members should be initially hired with the same care and subjected to the same interview process as any other applicant;
  • a probationary period of time should be set for the evaluation of part-time/adjunct faculty members;
  • upon successfully completing a probationary period, part-time/adjunct faculty should achieve a form of seniority;
  • once seniority has been achieved, part-time/adjunct faculty should be subject to non-reappointment in only two circumstances—if the courses taught are not being offered or for cause, utilizing all due-process protections;
  • part-time/adjunct faculty should have the right to order their own texts and design their own courses unless these are departmental decisions, in which case part-time/adjunct faculty should be invited to participate in the deliberations; and
  • qualified part-time/adjunct faculty who have successfully completed a probationary period should be given preference in consideration for any full-time position in accordance with the requirements of the position, the needs of the department and the part-time/adjunct faculty member's seniority:

 

RESOLVED, that the AFT endorse the "Standards of Professional Responsibility and Support" in the Standards of Good Practice:

  • upon initial appointment, part-time/adjunct faculty members should be oriented to the institution and the department, the curriculum and support services, the institution's governance structure, and the department's expectations regarding the successful performance of their duties;
  • to ensure adequate preparation time, class assignments should be made, whenever possible, using the same calendar and time formats as those accorded full-time faculty; part-time/adjunct faculty should have the right to express preferences concerning courses, schedules and locations.
  • part-time/adjunct faculty should be provided suitable office space and should have paid office hours to meet with their students;
  • part-time/adjunct faculty who have achieved seniority and the job security that goes with it should be invited to participate in departmental meetings and other committees with voting privileges and should be compensated for doing so;
  • part-time/adjunct faculty should have access to secretarial and technological support services necessary to the fulfillment of their responsibilities as well as adequate supplies and library and other campus privileges; and
  • part-time/adjunct faculty should have opportunities and financial support to participate in conferences and workshops for their professional development, to apply for grants and sabbaticals and to participate in the institution’s tuition support program; and

 

RESOLVED, that the AFT endorse the section of the Standards of Good Practice devoted to "Ensuring Full Rights for Part-time/Adjunct Faculty within Their Unions":

  • where full-time and part-time/adjunct faculty members are in the same union on campus:
  • the part-time/adjunct faculty should have full voting rights on all union matters, including the election of officers and the ratification of contracts;
  • special efforts should be made to bring part-time/adjunct faculty into union leadership positions, including service on union committees and bargaining teams, and to encourage their participation in membership drives and other union affairs;
  • where the full-time and part-time/adjunct faculty members at an institution arenot in the same union, it is essential to establish regular communication between representatives of the full-time and part-time/adjunct faculty in an attempt to settle potential differences over issues of employment, compensation and professional rights/responsibilities;
  • given the rewards that come from developing an effective union, membership dues for part-time/adjunct faculty should be set at a high enough level for the local union to be strong while at the same time taking into account the limited compensation part-time/adjunct faculty receive; and
  • higher education unions should assume the responsibility of initiating programs to increase understanding between full-time and part-time/adjunct faculty members, providing forums to work through myths and stereotypes and develop mutual respect and trust; and
RESOLVED, in support of the Standards of Good Practice, AFT is committed to sustaining a vigorous organizing campaign on behalf of part-time/adjunct faculty.
(2002)