Chapters urged to hold awareness events
If local campuses get into the swing of things, part-time faculty members can expect to be recognized on their campuses in April during the launching of CCA’s Part Time Appreciation Month.
“It’s an awareness campaign,” said John Sullivan, CCA board member for part-time faculty in Southern California. “We want to make students and faculty become aware of the contributions made by part-time faculty to community colleges. We want to do what districts themselves refuse to do.”
Suggested observations may include award ceremonies, a faculty luncheon, a presentation at the board of trustees meeting highlighting the accomplishments of part-time instructors, letters to the editor, information on campus that examines the disparity between part-time and full-time faculty, and, even commemorative t-shirts.
Although part-time faculty now represent the majority of instructors on community college campuses, their ranks have declined from 47,000 to 43,000 over the past two years due to state budget cuts. Many part-time faculty feel underrepresented, overlooked and devalued. While CCA has recognized the growing importance and influence of part-time faculty on campuses for more than a decade, and has encouraged their participation in local chapters and the statewide organization. But April’s Part Time Appreciation Month is a first for the organization.
The idea for the event grew out of a similar activity by the Merced College Faculty Association, which started a campaign three years ago to recognize the value of part-time faculty, many of who were being laid off due to budget cuts.
“Folks on campus were saying that we would get through the budget crisis without laying anyone off,” said Keith Law, president of the Merced College Faculty Association. “It was obvious that part timers do not only get invisible pink slips, but they are invisible members of our campus community such that we sweep their job loss under the rug. Our Part Time Faculty Appreciation Month was originally conceived to bring attention to the contributions of our part-time faculty, but also to their challenges.”
As a result, during the last two negotiations, the faculty association won a raise for our part time faculty members, and continues to fight for more benefits for part timers.
Law since took the idea for consideration by the CCA Board Task Force on Part-Time issues and then to the Part-Time Issues Committee.
In previous years, some part-time faculty participated in activities held in October that were sponsored by “Campus Equity Week,” a coalition of higher education faculty organizers and organizations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
CCA’s Part Time Appreciation Month is something of our own,” Sullivan explained.
CCA has grants available to fund Part-time Appreciation Month activities in local chapters and will also have signs, brochures and other materials available on the CCA website at www.cca4me.org.
We want to do what districts themselves refuse to do.