Part-Time Faculty: A Principled Perspective

Educational Policies Committee

This paper provides a more detailed history of the issues; it reviews earlier Academic Senate papers and resolutions regarding the use of part-time temporary faculty in California's community colleges, placing them within the historical context. It then looks at recent activities in Sacramento and studies reported by the California State Auditor and the California Post Secondary Education Commission. The paper then reviews the recent actions by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, the California Legislature, and the Governor.


Policy Level Recommendations

  1. The Academic Senate should work to ensure that progress is made on improving the number of full-time faculty at each college. Maintaining a corps of full-time, tenured faculty is central to academic excellence, academic integrity, and academic freedom; it is key to serving our students well.
  2. The Academic Senate reaffirms its commitment to the COFO Faculty Equity Statement, and to increasing efforts to integrate part-time faculty into senate activities at the local and state level.
  3. The Academic Senate reaffirms past guidelines and recommendations presented in the 1989 paper, Part-Time Faculty Hiring Procedures: A Model Based on Assembly Bill 1725.
  4. The Academic Senate should undertake a comprehensive statewide review of part-time faculty hiring and evaluation policies, procedures, and their implementation. Such a review would include:
    • the extent of implementation of fair and effective hiring and evaluation practices;
    • an analysis of turnover and retention of part-time faculty;
    • an analysis of long term changes in the diversity of part-time and full-time faculty; and
    • the impact of current part-time faculty employment practices on full-time faculty and administrative responsibilities.
  5. The Academic Senate should develop recommended models to guide local senates in developing career-oriented mentoring and evaluation processes for part-time faculty that more closely mirror the tenure review process. Such models would be designed to integrate new part-time faculty into the profession, the academic community, and the colleges; and enhance the ability of part-time faculty to serve their students.
  6. The Academic Senate should work with Consultation Council members and the Board of Governors to develop mechanisms to ensure that all California community college faculty assignments include the expectation that students will receive equitable opportunities for effective contact with their instructors outside of the regular class period.
  7. The Academic Senate reaffirms that "decisions regarding the appropriateness of part-time faculty should be made on the basis of academic and program needs.and not for financial savings" (AB1725, Section 4 (b)). The Senate recommends that the use of temporary assignments should be limited to short-term responses to:
    • curriculum changes, allowing for rigorous, fair, and effective hiring practices when stable need has been established;
    • enrollment growth, allowing for rigorous, fair, and effective hiring practices when stable need has been established; and,
    • temporary substitutions for contract and regular faculty on leave or reassignment.
  8. The Academic Senate should work with other faculty and administrative organizations to develop structures that will enhance the professionalism of all faculty and protect their academic freedom. To these ends, the Academic Senate is committed to advising the Board of Governors and the Legislature in support of professionally sound policies regarding employment security and due process for part-time faculty consistent with Academic Senate policies and resolutions.
  9. In seeking a long-term comprehensive solution to the many problems and issues discussed in this paper, the Academic Senate will engage in a serious consideration of the implications and advisability of extending the structures and protections of tenure to regularly rehired part-time faculty who have undergone rigorous evaluation processes.

Recommendations to Local Academic Senates

  1. The Academic Senate recommends that local senates work with their local collective bargaining agent, administration and board of trustees to establish principled definitions and policies regarding part-time faculty pay equity, "comparable pay for comparable work" and what should be the professional expectations of all faculty.
  2. The Academic Senate recommends that local senates work with their collective bargaining agent, administration and trustees, to establish local policies and negotiated agreements that provide compensated office hours as a part of all instructional assignments—in order to ensure that all students have equitable access to their instructors outside of class.
  3. The Academic Senate recommends that local senates work together with their collective bargaining agent, administration and trustees to devise creative options to traditional office hours. These options might include email accessibility, telephone office hours, and online chat rooms. Such alternatives to traditional office space and time do not abrogate the necessity of compensating part-time faculty for services rendered, nor should they be assumed to fully replace the need for traditional face-to-face contact between students and faculty outside of class.