Provost Outlines Enhanced Support for Adjunct Faculty

Lincoln Park Campus
DePaul's Lincoln Park Campus (Jamie Moncrief/DePaul University)
Under new initiatives announced recently by Provost Marten denBoer, adjunct faculty will be provided with enhanced course cancellation fees, multicourse contracts will be offered to eligible adjuncts, and structures will be developed to give adjuncts voice in the university.

The actions come in response to adjunct faculty feedback and are part of DePaul's continuing efforts to meet adjunct faculty members' needs.

In recent years DePaul has instituted several new initiatives for adjunct faculty. This includes implementing a course cancellation fee; adjusting the eligibility threshold for health and welfare benefits to make more adjunct faculty eligible; offering a more attractive health plan; streamlining the hiring process; and developing an adjunct faculty online orientation.

Most recently, adjunct faculty were eligible for the same salary increase as full-time faculty as part of the university's compensation budget in 2016. Similarly, DePaul's board of trustees recently approved a compensation pool increase for all staff and faculty, including adjunct faculty, for 2017.

The latest initiatives are fueled by feedback from adjunct faculty collected by DePaul administrators in the last several months on how their experience at the university could be improved. In addition, Faculty Council recently released a survey of adjunct faculty that suggested ways in which the adjunct faculty experience could be improved.

In response to that feedback, DePaul will:

  • Create multicourse contracts for adjunct faculty who have been teaching for DePaul for a number of years to make possible longer and more predictable teaching appointments.
  • Enhance the Course Cancellation Fee from its present rates (10 percent of agreed-upon salary if the course is cancelled one month to one week before the first day of class; and 20 percent if the course is cancelled less than one week before the first day of class) to 25 percent if the course is cancelled one month or less before the first day of class, effective July 1, 2016.
  • Develop an opt-out process that would allow adjunct faculty, if they wished, to opt out of the course cancellation fee and request that their course not be cancelled if they hope last-minute registration would permit it to run.
  • Compile, in one place, all policies and procedures relating to adjunct faculty, with a view to harmonizing those across the colleges.
  • Designate an associate provost in the provost's office with responsibility to attend to adjunct faculty affairs.
  • Establish a Task Force to determine what kind of permanent committee or other structure might best give adjunct faculty a voice in proposing longer-term changes to improve their experience at DePaul. The Task Force will include: a) 10 adjunct faculty, one from each college; b) two representatives appointed by Faculty Council, preferably to include the chair of the Committee on Contingent Faculty; c) a dean appointed by the Provost; and d) the designated associate provost, as described above. The Task Force is expected to develop its recommendations in the coming months. Adjunct faculty were invited to self-nominate to serve on the Task Force. 

"Some of these initiatives will take time to implement, but I have accepted them all in principle and announce them today so the work can start," denBoer wrote in his message to faculty.

Faculty are invited to continue sending their thoughts and ideas to provost@depaul.edu.