1.
THE NUMBERS
   
2.

AT POINT OF HIRING

   
3.
DEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEES & SERVICE
   
4.
UNIVERSITY SERVICE WORK AND WHY IT MATTERS
   
5.
SELF-MAINTENANCE
   
6.
GETTING REVIEWED, RENEWED AND TENURED—OR NOT
   
7.

TEACHING

   
8.
ADJUNCT FACULTY
   
9.
SPECIAL PROFESSIONAL FACULTY
   
10.
LIBRARY FACULTY
   
11.
GENDER STUDIES CONCENTRATION
   
12.
GENERAL ACADEMIC
   
13.

LIFE ON CAMPUS

   
14.
ANCIENT HISTORY
   
15.
APPENDICES
   
  HOME
 

 

Chapter Eight
ADJUNCT FACULTY

If you are an adjunct faculty member at Notre Dame, you might have been here for many years, or you might also be a recent hire. Your spouse/partner might have a tenure-track position and you might hope for the same. Or the flexibility of an adjunct position, which usually does not require publication or committee service, might be just what you and your family want. You might have a Ph.D. or you might have an M.A., M.F.A. or other professional degree. You might teach a heavy course load, or you might teach just one course per semester. If you are adjunct faculty in the College of Business or in the Law School, chances are you are a businesswoman or attorney who teaches a class or two as an active member of the community to which the students aspire. In all cases you contribute profoundly to your department and its students.

Unfortunately, although you adjunct instructors and professors teach in nearly every department across campus, and are thus a crucial and devoted part of the faculty, you face a broad array of challenges at Notre Dame. The categories of inquiry in a recent survey conducted by the Modern Language Association about pay and treatment of part-time and non-tenure-track faculty members in English and Foreign Language departments in the U.S. and Canada suggest areas of concern for adjunct faculty here and elsewhere. These include salary, benefits, basic office support, opportunities for professional development, participation in department meetings and decision making, and advance notice of teaching assignments.

Unfortunately, Notre Dame's treatment of adjunct faculty members, particularly in the humanities and sciences, is seriously lacking in many of these areas. If you are an adjunct faculty member here, you have no job security from year to year, sometimes not even from semester to semester, regardless of the length of your service here. You cannot expect any regular salary increases and you may not even earn a living wage. You most likely do not receive health or retirement benefits or have any paid opportunities to participate in professional conferences. You may have a wonderful working relationship with your department chair and have good relationships with your other colleagues. Others of you, however, may not be invited to participate in departmental meetings and may be essentially invisible to some of your tenure-track colleagues. In worst cases, other faculty members might treat you with condescension or hostility. You may be given several weeks' notice about the courses you will teach, allowing you to prepare in a thorough and unrushed manner, but you may also be given last-minute teaching assignments. Some semesters your course load could also change at the last minute, which impacts your income, since you are paid on a per-course basis.

Amazingly, even though you may teach a higher course load than any other member of your department, you may not even have a welcoming, accessible space in which to meet your students, nor a campus phone number at which they can reach you. And, although you may have been frustrated by some or all of these conditions, you have probably been loathe to address them, fearing that your lack of job security would make you too vulnerable to dismissal.

Notre Dame is committed to increasing the number of tenure-track positions in many departments. Such a commitment could put an important dent in the number of 'underemployed' Ph.D.'s who are in non-tenure-track jobs but would prefer to be on the tenure track. Nevertheless, such a laudable commitment to the 'bigger picture' must not be allowed to obscure the impact of hiring policies on the lives and livelihoods of those adjunct faculty members who already serve the university and its students. Any new hiring policies or goals should co-exist with a commitment to fair and humane treatment of existing adjunct and part-time faculty.

WATCH's Subcommittee on Adjunct Issues is currently attempting to establish a clearer picture of adjunct 'life' at Notre Dame so that we can more effectively address its problems and challenges.

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6/15/02 12:47 AM
2007 University of Notre Dame