Adjunct Action

Introduction

This portion of the website will be dedicated to information regarding Adjunct Faculty appointments at UConn. It will contain up-to-date information on issues facing adjunct faculty members at the Storrs, Avery Point, Hartford, Stamford, and Waterbury campuses.

Ad-Hoc Adjunct Faculty Committee 2016-2017

On September 2, 2016, the UConn-AAUP Executive approved the formation of an Ad-Hoc Adjunct Faculty Committee to address Adjunct issues and improve working conditions for the duration of FY 17. On September 30, 2016 the Executive Committee approved the following appointments to the committee:

  • Trudi Bird, English
  • Cuong Do ( Appointed 2/24/17), Data Science & Engineering, Mathematics, Financial Mathematics, Actuarial Science, Financial Mathematics – Actuarial Science M.S. Programs
  • Mary Gallucci, English, UConn-AAUP Executive Committee
  • Christine Green, Biology, Avery Point
  • Rhea Hirshman, Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Stamford
  • Susan Holt, Psychological Studies, Hartford
  • Yael Schacher, American Studies, Hartford
  • Sam Robinson, English, Waterbury

Committee Goals 

  • Raising consciousness regarding issues facing adjunct faculty at UConn through outreach, research, and education
  • Integration into the life of the Department and Institution through participation in department and University representative bodies
  • Advocating for better pay and working conditions across all campuses

Department Head/Regional Campus Director Questionnaire Results 

Coming Soon!

Related Publications/Information

Adjunct Faculty & Academic Freedom

Christopher Henderson, UConn-AAUP Internal Organizer

Teaching at a university, even a Research 1 university such as UConn, has changed radically in recent years.  The teaching faculty are increasingly hired on a part-time, temporary basis rather than on the tenure track.  In many institutions of higher education in the USA, the pay and working conditions of adjunct faculty have become moral concerns. Nearly 31% of part-time faculty nationwide live near or below the federal poverty line. At UConn, adjuncts earn a little over $4,600 at the minimum, both with marginal benefits.  In addition to the challenges of living on minimal pay, the rise of contingent faculty brings to light serious concerns over academic freedom.

The purpose of academic freedom is to facilitate discussion and debate in the classroom and to challenge students to think critically without fear of reprimand from university administrators or legislators. Lack of job security; minimal institutional support; and few due process rights mean that adjunct faculty may be hesitant about presenting controversial material in class and giving out low grades for inadequate student work. In the wider arena of campus life, adjunct faculty may be reluctant to advise a group of student activists demanding administrative public action on undocumented students because adjunct professors do not want to risk forfeiting renewal of their teaching contract. Such hesitation imperils the American university system that has academic freedom at its core.

One of the ways to combat this challenge is for tenured faculty to advocate for adjunct faculty improvements in pay and working conditions. The notion that higher pay for adjuncts would impinge on full-time faculty rights is erroneous.  Such incorrect beliefs tend to divide constituencies and quell debate. Tenured faculty can be a part of the conversation about ensuring better job security for adjuncts so that they can have the freedom to teach, to research, and to challenge in the classroom and beyond. In this economic climate, it may be unrealistic to advocate for adjunct faculty positions to be converted to tenure-track ones, but full-time faculty can help ensure that adjunct professors have meaningful multi-year contracts with fewer loopholes for non-renewal. By the same token, full-time faculty should be cognizant about the need for more tenured lines because at UConn, non-tenure track faculty currently make up a little more than half of the UConn-AAUP bargaining unit.

We need to stand together to ensure all faculty have academic freedom and the job security to exercise that freedom.

The AAUP “Redbook” on the Integrity of Work as It Relates to Contingent Appointments

AAUP Committee on Contingent Faculty and the Profession & Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure (Adopted November 2003)

https://www.aaup.org/report/contingent-appointments-and-academic-profession

The following is an excerpt from the “Redbook”, the National AAUP’s policy statements and reports book intended to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education

Integrity of Faculty Work

Higher education achieves its unique standing in our society because it is characterized by original research, teaching that is grounded in scholarly disciplines, and service to the larger community, all supported and protected by academic freedom. Institutions rely on the professional responsibility of the faculty to maintain a strong commitment to student learning and to the development of scholarship. Indeed, the Association’s founding statement, the 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure, describes the public purposes of a college or university as teaching, scholarship, and service. The relative emphasis placed on teaching, scholarship, and service by a faculty member varies according to the terms of his or her appointment and academic discipline and the type of institution at which he or she works. But although emphases vary, these functions are not completely divisible. Faculty work cannot be sliced cleanly into component parts without losing the important connections that make up the whole.

In all types of institutions, faculty share a responsibility for academic decision making. Faculty participation in governance structures is an essential feature of higher education, ensuring that programs and courses are of high quality and are academic in nature.

Tenured and tenure-track faculty are expected to engage to some extent in teaching, scholarship, and service, and their salaries and teaching loads reflect that expectation. Faculty holding contingent appointments, on the other hand, are rarely compensated for time spent on shared governance or other service. The professional development and scholarly accomplishments of contingent faculty are often viewed as irrelevant or simply ignored.

To support the essential mission of higher education, faculty appointments, including contingent appointments, should incorporate all aspects of university life: active engagement with an academic discipline, teaching or mentoring of undergraduate or graduate students, participation in academic decision making, and service on campus and to the surrounding community. Faculty who are appointed to less-than-full-time positions should participate at least to some extent in the full range of faculty responsibilities. For all faculty members in contingent positions, this participation should be supported by compensation and institutional resources and recognized in the processes of evaluation and peer review.

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