CCA’s commitment continues
As the ranks of part-time faculty explodes, so grows the focus on their working conditions, career prospects and difficulties in earning a living.
Adjunct faculty have long been active in their unions, at the state Capitol, in independent advocacy organizations and in the blogosphere. In recent months, their struggles have been detailed in PBS’s News Hour and in “The Just in Time Professor” a report by the Democratic staff of the House Education and Workforce Committee.
New faculty majority
Yet, for many of the “New Faculty Majority” this interest is just the beginning and there is still a long way in the campaign for equity. CCA has made a continuing commitment to part timers by including part-time representatives on its board of directors, sponsoring legislation and conducting sessions on part-time issues in its conferences. Feelings ran high in one recent workshop, attended by both part-time and full-time instructors. Following is a summary of that discussion.
“In order to fix a problem, you have to recognize there is a problem,” said John Martin, one of two part-time faculty on CCA’s board of directors. “There is a sense of justice at play here. We have the same degrees, we teach the same classes but we are not treated the same way.”
Martin’s experience as a part-time history professor prompted him to become involved with the Community College Association and, more recently, with the California Part-time Faculty Association.
Several speakers maintain that more bridges be built between part-time and full-time faculty to overcome attempts by college districts to “divide and conquer.”
Karen Roberts, president of CHI Long Beach City College, which represents part-time faculty at Long Beach City College has her own way of educating her full-time colleagues.
“When you over-rely on part-time faculty, it threatens your job, your workload and it threatens your tenure. I started saying it at every board meeting and now the full-time faculty are starting to catch on,” she said.
Others, like Mark Carpenter, a sociology professor at Riverside City College called for even more “consciousness raising” to take place between part-time and full-time faculty.
“Full-time faculty would naturally expect part timers to honor a strike. We need to bring full timers along and make them aware of our grievances,” he said.
CCA plans to collect “best practices” that can be disseminated to chapters, according to CCA President Lynette Nyaggah. As examples, she noted:
Mount San Antonio and South Orange County college faculty associations each negotiated salary increases for part-timers while full-time faculty went without a raise.
The MiraCosta College Teachers Association, which represents part-time faculty, is also an organizing model at the college, where full-time faculty are unrepresented by a union.
The Merced College Faculty Association obtained a three-year grant from the National Education Association that provided funding to help set up a part-time committee, and to pay for the chair. From there, the association established two seats on its representative council for part-time representatives. A CCA grant was used by the association to build part-time membership and representation and to start annual part-time appreciation activities in April. The association now conducts the activities from its own budget.