Progress Continues on Adjunct Faculty Initiatives

Adjunct Task Force
Adjunct Task Force members: Front row (l-r): Veronica Buckley, Kathryn Flum, Noelle Thomas, Mary Mindak, Curt Hansman; Back row (l-r): John Culbert, Vladimir Lepetic, Bamshad Mobasher, Nathan DeWitt, Daniel Lindsey, Gerry Koocher, Lasana Kazembe, Neal Heitz; Not pictured: Erin MacKenna and William Zink (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)
Adjunct faculty will have more opportunities to participate in DePaul's academic life and an avenue for resolving workplace concerns under new university initiatives launching soon. These and other improvements have emerged from recommendations made by the Adjunct Faculty Task Force.

Provost Marten denBoer convened the task force in March 2016 in response to adjunct faculty feedback and as part of DePaul's continuing efforts to meet adjunct faculty's needsThe task force was comprised of 11 adjunct faculty from all 10 colleges or schools and four other members, representing Faculty Council, the Committee on Contingent Faculty and Academic Affairs.

After the group submitted its recommendations during the summer, Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul, and denBoer accepted them all in principle.

Though the academic year has barely begun, DePaul already has taken steps to enact some of the recommendations and plans to tackle others soon. These include:

Voice in university and department academic life

  • Create a new Workplace Environment Committee as a focused and responsive vehicle for voicing and resolving workplace concerns. Read more about the WEC and its fall quarter elections in an upcoming issue of Newsline.
  • Faculty Council voted in favor of including adjunct faculty on its Committee on Contingent Faculty. Adjunct members will be added to the committee soon.
  • Request Faculty Council consider including adjunct faculty representation, perhaps via the chair of the WEC and/or a member of the CCF.
  • Request that Faculty Council revisit the issue of adjunct faculty participation in governance at the academic unit level.

Regular, formal recognition of contributions

  • Partner with the WEC and Faculty Council to consider the desirability and feasibility of a rank system for adjunct faculty.
  • Look for more opportunities to recognize the contributions of adjunct faculty, building on recent improvements that include the introduction of an appreciation reception for adjunct faculty last May.

Compensation for service beyond teaching

  • Provide compensation for members of the CCF and the WEC.
  • Work with the WEC on the issue of compensation for adjunct faculty service in general with a goal to pilot a system in the 2017-18 academic year and prepare for its funding during the university's budget process, which begins in November.

"The task force met this challenging assignment with hard work and a strong dedication to the sentiments of their colleagues," says denBoer. "I'm grateful for their thoughtful recommendations, which provide a clear and helpful path to a better environment for our adjunct faculty."

The Adjunct Faculty Task force was one of several initiatives announced by denBoer in March 2016 to address the needs of adjunct faculty. New processes proposed by the university earlier this year have taken effect or are in progress, including:

  • As of July 1, the course cancellation fee increased to 25 percent of the agreed-upon salary if the course is cancelled one month before the first day of class. This is an improvement on the previous rates of 10 percent or 20 percent depending on when the course was cancelled.
  • A new course cancellation fee opt-out process also took effect on July 1. This allows adjunct faculty, if they wish, to opt out of the course cancellation fee and request that their course not be cancelled if there is potential that last-minute registration would permit it to run.
  • Academic Affairs named Lucy Rinehart to the new role of associate provost for academic programs and faculty. Her responsibilities will include support for all faculty, including term and adjunct faculty. A tenured associate professor of English, Rinehart has taught at DePaul since 1992 and most recently served as interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences from 2014 to 2016.
  • A Deans Council subcommittee is preparing recommendations on how to design and implement multicourse contracts.

Keep checking Newsline for updates on all of the new initiatives.