Draft Declaration of the Rights of Adjuncts

To be discussed – comment but do not circulate

Declaration of the Rights of Adjuncts


Based on a survey of CSI adjuncts in December 2014, numerous discussions among adjuncts, including in a series of meetings of the Adjunct Faculty Assembly, and incorporating decisions and resolutions of that body, the adjunct instructional staff of the College of Staten Island declare their intention to actualize the following rights.

Rights of Adjuncts:
      I.         Fair and adequate compensation for professional work
1.     Goals for new contract
a)     Professional rate of pay – The value of higher education is indicated by the value placed on teaching. Accordingly, the floor must be raised so that no one can be hired to teach a 3-credit course for less than $5,000, as a beginning rate at the lowest rank and step, while that rate will increase at higher ranks and steps.
b)    Written contract that spells out job description and awards additional pay for extra duties (see below) and that also pays or reassigns adjuncts even if assigned class is canceled
c)     Continuation of City health benefits as part of pension
d)    Eligibility to apply for prorated sabbatical or fellowship leave
e)     Accrual of sick leave from semester to semester and inclusion of adjuncts in other benefits such as parental leave
f)     Payment for extended sick leave for adjuncts as necessary; college pays cost of employing substitute
g)     Voluntary buy-out option for adjuncts of retirement age; this could involve cash and/or pension credit
2.     Fixes possible under current contract
a)     Job descriptions – Departments prepare written descriptions of the job that include the types and amount of work expected along with a plan for compensating instructors for extra work outside of the classroom
b)    Compensation for the time required to perform the job – The base pay of a teaching adjunct, per credit hour, covers 1 hour/week in the classroom and 40 minutes/week outside of the classroom (for prep, grading, etc.). This calculation is derived from the contractual payscales in which the teaching and non-teaching adjunct rates at every rank and step follow a 3:5 equivalency formula. That is, the weekly compensation for teaching a 3-credit course is the same as what the same person earns in 5 hours at her/his non-teaching adjunct rate. For example, 5 hours @ the minimum NTA rate of $38.91 = $194.55, and 3 “contact hours” teaching @ the minimum teaching adjunct rate of $64.84 = $194.52. Clearly, the adjunct is only paid his/her contractual rate when not exceeding the appropriate number of hours covered by the $194.52, that is, 5 hours, wherever that work is carried out. If 3 hours are spent teaching, then the pay covers only an additional 2 hours of prep and grading. (For 4 hours teaching, only an additional 2 hours and 40 minutes are covered by the paycheck.). Any work required beyond that therefore requires additional compensation.
·      Workload – Adjuncts must be paid at their non-teaching adjunct hourly rate for any additional time (beyond 40 minutes per credit hour per week) needed to perform the duties expected of them by their departments and indicated in the job descriptions
·      Extra assignments – Adjuncts must be paid at their non-teaching adjunct rate for attending meetings, trainings, staff development in-services, workshops or for participating in service and academic tasks such as advisement and curriculum development
·      Course development – Adjuncts must be paid for developing new courses or adapting courses for online or hybrid presentation; this payment is due even if the course is canceled or assigned to someone else
a)     Office hour -- Someone who is not paid for a professional hour cannot be expected to list an office hour, to hold an office hour, or even to include “by appointment” wording on the syllabus. That is a violation of the contract.
b)    Unemployment insurance – Adjuncts who are unemployed and unpaid during the summer and winter breaks need unemployment insurance benefits just like others who are periodically out of work. The college and departments must cease cooperating with any efforts to use a legal loophole to deprive them of this needed income
c)     Relaxation of 9/6 rule – The union needs to relax its enforcement of a rule that creates a hardship for many instructors struggling to make a living on multiple campuses; a good compromise would be to allow adjuncts to teach a total of 15 credits anywhere within CUNY during a term, with a maximum of 12 at any one campus
d)    Payment of temporary substitutes – It should be the responsibility of the college, not the individual instructor, to find and pay a substitute to fill in for an adjunct instructor who is absent for more than a week
e)     Research funding – Both PSC and the college should make additional research funding available to all continuing adjuncts after one year’s service, regardless of the number of courses they have taught in past semesters. Some of this support can be in the form of sabbaticals and paid release time.

    II.         Job stability and security
1.     Seniority principle – Best practices require that adjunct faculty and staff be given preference in security, class and schedule assignments, and other aspects of the job based on seniority from date of hire
2.     Contracts -- After a probationary period, adjuncts should be offered contracts (preferably in writing) that cannot be violated except for cause and that can be appealed through due process. Cancelation of an assignment less than two months before the beginning of the term is unprofessional. In future, under a better contract, adjuncts will be guaranteed their salaries and departments will be responsible to arrange work schedules for adjuncts just like for full-time staff.
3.     Notice of full-time positions -- All adjunct faculty in a department must be notified of openings for full-time positions in that department. If they meet the basic qualifications and apply for the job, they must be granted an interview in good faith.
4.     Fewer and more collegial observations – Until such time as adjunct faculty are eligible to earn tenure, there is no reason for years of continual and repeated classroom observations; such observations as are necessary must follow a respectful protocol that is not premised on the extreme vulnerability of the adjunct faculty member
5.     Extended sick leave -- No termination because of illness, even extended illness that removes someone from the classroom for the balance of a semester
6.     Leaves of absence – Experienced adjuncts may apply for leaves of absence up to a year with guaranteed reemployment upon return

  III.         Inclusion in the college community
1.     Convocation -- Adjuncts and other part-time employees should be honored for longevity milestones at convocation along with full-time employees.
2.     Names and bios on website – Names and bios of adjunct staff and faculty need to be listed on departmental and college websites. This needs to start happening right now as the college redesigns the website and sets new procedures for updating the websites.
3.     Orientation – Newly hired adjuncts need orientation to the college and their departments, and also to the union.  Orientation sessions can happen each term and all efforts should be made for every new adjunct to attend. Adjuncts should be paid at their NTA rates to attend. Each department needs to orient new hires and help them access all necessary support resources (e.g., copying).
4.     Faculty meetings -- Adjunct faculty are faculty and cannot be excluded from faculty meetings. Nor can adjunct faculty be denied the vote in departmental affairs once they have passed a probationary period in the department.
5.     Condolences – Events in the lives of adjuncts and their families should be treated the same as events in the lives of full-time members of the community; e.g., the passing of the partner or parent of an adjunct should be announced to the community through the usual condolence email message
6.     Faculty Senate -- The college governance plan must be revised to give adjuncts a fair number of Senators in Faculty Senate and College Council, proportional to our numbers on campus.
7.     Office space and faculty lounge -- Every good faith effort must be made to provide adjunct instructors with an adequate and private office space to confer with students as well as a place to do their work and keep class materials. Additionally, CSI needs a faculty lounge.

Draft prepared by Ruth Wangerin, 3/13/2016

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