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Resisting the Increase in Contingent Appointments

There are a number of different collective bargaining approaches that can be taken to turn back the increasing adjunctification of higher education. The circumstances at your institution—existing policies, inclination of board members and the administration, legal parameters, and much more—may point towards one path as being more likely than others to yield success. The first step is to be familiar with the options.

Numerical limitations

Possibly the clearest way to draw the line over the proliferation of non-tenure-track positions is simply to limit the number of non-tenure track positions that will be permitted. This can be done in a number of ways. One is by setting a numerical ceiling on the number of non-tenure-track positions that will be permitted, or by guaranteeing a minimum number of tenure-track positions that will exist during the life of the contract:

Article 8, Faculty Ranks and Appointments
8.1 There shall be at least one hundred (100) full time positions for faculty who shall hold Continuous Appointment (Tenured) or Probationary Appointment (Tenure Track) leading to tenure.
(Emerson College, TT bargaining unit)

Independently, or in conjunction with the above approach, a contract can constrict the number of contingent positions by establishing a percentage of tenure-track to non-tenure-track positions:

Article IX, Appointment and Reappointment of Full-Time Non-Tenure-Track Faculty
Section 2. In addition to the tenure track faculty, the University may appoint a limited number of non-tenure-track faculty as Visiting or Clinical faculty or as Lecturers. Collectively, no more than 12.5% of the full-time faculty may be appointed in these non-tenure track lines. . . .  If the University elects to employ the non-tenure track lines specified herein, then during the period of such employment and subject to the University maintaining a minimum of 6600 Student FTEs, the University shall maintain (as a minimum) the current number (285 as of 5/09) of tenure track faculty (subject to minor temporary variation as employees leave and are hired).
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c.  Lecturers:[…]Lecturers  shall  not comprise more than 40% of the total full-time, non-tenure track faculty. No more than five Lecturers may be appointed in each of: the College of Arts and Sciences and in University College.
(Adelphi University, combined tenure-track/non-tenure-track faculty bargaining unit)

Also:

5.1.1.1 The reduction in the ratio of tenure/tenure track faculty to the total FTETF by more than 5% in any year requires an EPC recommendation. For example, a reduction in the ratio from 75% to 69% would require such a review whereas a reduction from 75% to 73% would not. EPC recommendation will also be required if the percentage of the total FTETF taught by tenured and tenure-track faculty drops below 60% in any year. The Administration will provide the AAUP with the FTETF data each year.
(Northern Michigan University, combined tenure-track/non-tenure-track faculty bargaining unit)

Less secure than having absolute numerical limits is language establishing “targets” or “goals”:

Article IX, Section 2. By creating full-time non-tenure-track positions, the goal is to increase the percentage of courses taught by full-time faculty. Accordingly, in assigning non-tenure-track faculty, Adelphi will, in exercising its academic judgment, use its best efforts to do so in a way that will maximize the chances of achieving the goal of 50% of all course sections being taught by full-time faculty.
(Adelphi University, combined tenure-track/non-tenure-track faculty bargaining unit)

Descriptive Limitations

A different approach is to contain the number of non-tenure-track positions by bargaining limiting criteria for their establishment or continuation. Such language is probably more common in dealing with part-time rather than full-time contingent positions, but the principle to try to negotiate is the same: if there is an ongoing, indefinite need for certain services, those services must be provided either by people in “career” non-tenure-track positions with some measure of job security or by tenure-track faculty. Definitional language of this sort is of the type recently negotiated at the University of Oregon:

Article 15, Academic Classification and Rank
Section 2 (h) ADJUNCT: A non-tenure track paid temporary appointment that is intermittent or of limited duration…)
(University of Oregon, combined tenure-track/non-tenure-track faculty bargaining unit)

The Oregon collective bargaining agreement goes on to establish a procedure, enforceable through the grievance procedure, pursuant to which current faculty with “adjunct” appointments are to be converted to “career non-tenure track” status, with concomitant enhanced job security and financial rewards.

Also:

Article V.B.8. Non-Tenure Track Full-Time Faculty Positions. Non-tenure track fulltime faculty fall under the following categories: a) instructors, b) lecturers, and c) specialist professors.
a. Instructorships are one-year appointments to fill unoccupied tenure track lines or flexibility lines established for a defined term to meet unanticipated shifts in enrollment.
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b. Lectureships may be established in a department under the following conditions (1) the Committee of the Department and the department chair determine that there is a need for one or more tenure track lines; and (2) there is uncertainty concerning the duration of the need or the ability of the University to fund the line(s); and (3) the Dean and Provost agree to the need for the line(s).
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j. Specialist professorships may be established in a department on the determination by the Committee of the Department and the department chair of a need for a line defined by two criteria: [1] disciplinary skills or expertise that generally cannot be acquired or mastered in academia; and [2] disciplinary currency that typically requires the practice of skills that cannot be maintained in academia.
(Monmouth University, combined tenure-track/non-tenure-track faculty bargaining unit)

Also:

Article XIII. It is agreed that the use of part-time and temporary faculty influences the workload of bargaining unit members and the quality of education offered by the University. Therefore, the following principles are used to guide the use of part-time and temporary appointees:
The use of part-time and temporary appointees to teach in the following circumstances is acceptable:
(a) to replace full-time faculty members on leave;
(b) to replace full-time faculty members with temporary time-bought situations or temporary special assignments;
(c) to teach courses full-time faculty are not qualified to teach, or to provide enrichment, diversity or balance for departmental curricula;
(d) to establish or maintain liaison with commercial or professional organizations relevant to student employment.

The use of part-time and temporary appointees in the following qualified circumstances is acceptable:
(a) to supervise field work or clinical or laboratory experience beyond that which can be accommodated to the workload of the full-time faculty;
(b) to teach courses full-time faculty are able to teach only when:
(1) there is a temporary open full-time line and a search is in progress;
(2) there is a short-term bulge in student demand not to exceed 6 years beyond that which can be met by full-time faculty.
The University shall gather information annually on the numbers of part-time and full-time temporary faculty and the duration of employment for each such faculty member for each academic unit. This information shall be provided to the AAUP, along with all other required information, on January 15th.
(University of Delaware, combined tenure-track/non-tenure-track faculty bargaining unit)

Also:

Article 24.7 Special appointments may be made when:
a. a temporary replacement is needed for a regular full-time faculty member who is expected to return;
b. a temporary replacement is needed for a vacant position for which a full search has not been successfully completed;
c. enrollment, financial feasibility or changes in the direction of a program raise questions as to the continued availability of a position; or
d. there are reservations as to an appointee's current qualifications, but it is anticipated that those qualifications shall meet expected criteria within the term of the appointment.
Special appointments are not to be offered when there is the presumption of continued appointment. Special appointments offered because of reservations about the appointee's current qualifications may only be renewed once.
(Hofstra University, combined tenure-track/non-tenure-track faculty bargaining unit)

Reduction of Incentives to Utilize Contingent Faculty

A third approach is to reduce the institution’s financial incentives to use contingent faculty appointments. This can be accomplished by decreasing the difference in salaries between non-tenure-track and tenure-track faculty, and/or by providing non-tenure-track faculty with more generous fringe benefits and other cost items (like funds for professional development or sabbatical eligibility.) Similarly, bargaining for greater job protections in the form of longer contracts and the like can reduce the managerial attractiveness of overreliance on contingent faculty appointments.

With these or any other type of contractual restrictions on the use of contingent faculty appointments, it behooves the chapter to ensure that it has a mechanism to monitor compliance by the administration. Academic collective bargaining agreements routinely have provisions obligating the employer to furnish information on a regular basis, and such language should cover relevant aspects of the composition of the faculty. One example:

Article IX, Appointment and Reappointment of Full-Time Non-Tenure-Track Faculty
Section 2.
The University will provide to the AAUP, by the end of each semester, a report which details the percentage of course sections taught by full-time faculty as well as a workload report for all non-tenure track full-time faculty.
(Adelphi University, combined tenure-track/non-tenure-track faculty bargaining unit)

Another:

Article XIII. The University shall gather information annually on the numbers of part-time and full-time temporary faculty and the duration of employment for each such faculty member for each academic unit. This information shall be provided to the AAUP, along with all other required information, on January 15th.
(University of Delaware, combined tenure-track/non-tenure-track faculty bargaining unit)

Institutional Policies

If you know of useful institutional or faculty handbook policies, outside of a union context, that can help to turn back the increasing adjunctification of higher education, please let us know.