Stabilizing Persons, Creating New Lines

By Marc Bousquet, Bill Hendricks, and Kevin Mahoney

At some of the fourteen campuses represented by the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), there are a dozen or more tenure-track faculty who used to teach the same courses in the same departments but on contingent appointments.

The APSCUF contract features two unique contract provisions (11.G and 11.H) that permit the conversion of both persons and lines to the tenure track.

According to very preliminary data gathering that the AAUP's Committee on Contingent Faculty and the Profession has begun with Bob Eyer, APSCUF's director of research, it's clear that some campuses and departments have made more use of this opportunity than others. At Indiana University of Pennsylvania, for instance, since 2000 there have been twenty conversions of persons and twenty-seven conversions of lines. But during the same period, the East Stroudsburg campus reports none. Some campuses have focussed more on converting  positions than persons, and there is some tension between these two opportunities. Where departments don't take advantage of the opportunity to convert persons, faculty serving contingently have sometimes been laid off just to stop the contract's conversion clock.

The committee has just published a preliminary report on conversion of appointments to the tenure track. When our research into APSCUF is concluded, we will include it along with other examples in the final report.

In the meanwhile, we have two snapshots of how two individual departments and campuses are currently applying articles 11.G and 11.H: an interview by Marc Bousquet with Kevin Mahoney, Director of Writing at Kutztown University, and an article by Bill Hendricks, Professor of English, California University of Pennsylvania.