…Editor’s Note: this post includes links to two important reports, the UAlbany Provost’s panel Report on Contingent Faculty and Staff and Woven Into Its Very Fabric, the UUP Chapter Report on labor, with survey data and recommendations. Please read both.
Dear All, A Blue Ribbon Panel on Part-Time and Contingent Faculty and Staff, chaired by the Provost at SUNY Albany, has agreed on a list of fourteen recommendations, including raising minimum starting salaries for all adjuncts to $5,000 per course within two to three years. In addition to senior administrators, the panel included full-time and part-time faculty, staff and students. It appears to be among the more important developments at SUNY during the past decade.
Below you’ll find an announcement about the report from the University at Albany Provost, James Stellar . In the words of Bret Benjamin, my colleague in the UUP Albany Chapter and Chief Investigator, UUP Albany Report on Contingent Labor
❝This is significant because, to my knowledge, it is a campus statement that goes far beyond what other SUNY campuses have done. Among other things it embraces a 5K/course target within 2-3 years, it discusses pathways to permanency, longer term contracts, better evaluation, access to benefits, and much more. It also articulates the issue as a matter of social justice, which seems to be a radical change from the ways that campuses have discussed contingent labor in the past….
Why is this report so strong? Because our Chapter was effectively given a major seat at the table throughout the entire process. We pushed for the creation of the panel. When it was constituted, we were asked to provide names of people to serve, and to help create the charge. Many strong unionists were appointed, including our then-Contingents’ Officer, and a former Chapter President and VP…. In other words, UUP was intimately involved in the creation of this University report, and I think our influence shows in the proposals that the University has put forward.❞
I’m particularly pleased that this report has come out now, in advance of negotiations. I hope that it gives us a wedge with which to work on contingent issues in that forum. I’m also eager to see it circulated to other chapters/campuses, as a way to push your campus administrations to do more.”
Some will be quick to criticize this approach because it does not end the two-tier system; it does not replace contingency with tenure for everyone; it does not implement the Vancouver model; it does not involve totally transforming higher education. Instead, it is designed to significantly improve the working conditions of thousands of contingent faculty working at SUNY. It is one approach to the issue, and other approaches may lead to further gains for contingent faculty here and elsewhere.
James R. Stellar, Provost and Chair, Blue Ribbon Panel on Part-time and Contingent Faculty and Staff writes:
❝Dear Colleagues, I am delighted to share with you an update on the work of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Part-time and Contingent Faculty and Staff. This group was commissioned earlier this year and charged with conducting a thorough review of issues associated with the experience of our adjunct/contingent faculty and part-time staff at UAlbany. Full-time and part-time faculty, staff, and students from across the campus were included on the committee. The members collected data over a number of months, including university and national quantitative data, and also held several focus groups for qualitative data.
We are pleased to share the report of the committee with the university community, which includes 14 recommendations. It is available on the Provost’s website . We would like to thank President Jones for his leadership in commissioning this panel and the committee members for their service and beneficial input during this process.
We are pleased that the 2016-17 Compact Budget Process included $400,000 to begin to address the compensation of our part-time faculty. This investment takes an important step toward the committee’s recommendation of raising the minimum per course rate for part-time lecturers.
Guided by this exciting report, I look forward to commissioning a smaller Task Force soon to look at how we can implement this and other recommendations from the report and to improve the quality of life for these critical members of our university community.❞
James R. Stellar, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Chair, Blue Ribbon Panel on Part-time and Contingent Faculty and Staff