Part-time Issues

Part-time Philosophy Instructor, De Anza College

In the Spring 1996 plenary session, The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) adopted the Council of Faculty Organizations Faculty Equity Statement, which emphasized the need for increased awareness of issues deriving from the high level of part-time faculty use within the California Community College System (CCC). Also in the Spring 1996 Session, ASCCC resolved that they should “assure participation of part-time faculty on the Executive Committee” (Resolution 1.05 S96).

Discussion of resolution 1.05 S96 in the Executive Committee, Educational Policies Committee, and the Standard and Practices Committee, during the 96-97 academic year, and during a breakout at the Fall 96 plenary session, have raised many complicated issues, but have resolved few. These issues fall into two general categories: The participation structure, and compensation issues. Each issue with these general categories is complicated by interaction with state law, Title 5 regulations, and the past practice and principles of the Senate.

Participation Structure

The need for part-time faculty on the Executive Committee lies in a recognition that more than 60% of all CCC faculty are part-time employees whose conditions of assignment create a significantly different educational context and professional point-of-view. Without this voice in senate dialogue, policy is established, decisions made, and actions taken, all based on incomplete information.

Experienced faculty membership on the Executive Committee has been guaranteed by restricting candidacy to current Senators and local senate presidents, or to those who “have been a local senate president or an Executive Committee member or officer within the three years immediately preceding the election.” (Senate By Laws, Article V, Section 2) Thus, while part-time faculty member could currently become a candidate for election to the Executive Committee, this would require a local senate situation which seldom occurs. However, the fundamental goal of selecting experienced and dedicated Executive Committee members should not be compromised.

Somehow, assuming part-time participation on the Executive Committee must be achieved through a process that develops high quality candidates with broad experience while not creating further divisions among the faculty. While it would probably be ideal to establish long range procedures that would encourage stronger participation of part-time faculty in local senate affairs, this is very difficult considering the compensation part-time faculty currently receive for their professional activity. However, a part-time faculty member with little experience of senate issues, or with little experience of the incredible variety of circumstances impacting part-time faculty professional activities would be unable to fill the need at which part-time faculty participation on the Executive Committee aims.

Compensation Issues

Faculty compensation for Senate activity has always been through district reassigned time for which the district is reimbursed by the Senate. This is consistent with the policy that all Executive Committee members must retain their faculty status to continue in office (Senate By Laws, Article V, Section 1.) This practice defines service to the Senate as part of load, and consequently, in the case of part-time faculty involves us in 60% law restrictions. We certainly want committed professionals on the Executive Committee, but the normal form of compensation would reduce the faculty member to an occasional educator.

The issues raised by the possibility of a separate stipend for part-time faculty service to the Senate involve law, regulation and the collective bargaining agents in ways that are outside the Senate’s purview. Collective bargaining agents and the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges can avoid many of these issues since they are autonomous agencies. The Senate is a legal part of the CCC system.