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  1. March 3, 2013 5:07 PM

    Thanks for this important conversation! As a full-time contingent faculty member (yes, after 16 years of teaching at California State University, Sacramento, I’m still considered “temporary”), I have served on committees, gone to department meetings, and currently serve on the faculty senate. For many of the years I participated in campus service without any compensation (no assigned time for committee work), but did so because I realized this was the only way to have any input or control over my working conditions, and over the fates of the students that I taught and advised. My impression from talking to many part-time lecturers (whose appointment may be much more tenuous than my full-time status) is that some are expected to do committee work for the department without compensation. In addition, many part-time faculty report that they are made to feel unwelcome at department meetings when they do try to go to these meetings.

    We have a 2-tier system in academia. While adjuct faculty (AKA, contingent, AKA part-timers, AKA adjunct, AKA temporary) often make up more than 50% of the teaching faculty at an institution, they have very little voice in the workings of their departments, receive teching assignments at the last minute, and feel undervalued in their place of work.

    It is unlikely that part-time faculty being more involved in departmental tasks and decisions would undermine the quality of academia or the power of the tenure line faculty (which I thnk is a real fear). It’s more likely that departments would benefit from more fully engaged adjuct faculty who have a very clear idea of what the classroom issues are.

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