The University of Cincinnati Adjunct Advocacy Association's mission is to bring about better part-time faculty compensation, benefits, faculty enrichment, resources, engagement and inclusion, and to share information to improve overall effectiveness and awareness of adjuncts and part-time faculty. The ultimate goal of the group is to effect positive change for UC adjuncts and part-time faculty and to provide information to them that the university, colleges and departments do not always do on a consistent basis.
The Association was founded in April 2018 by UC adjuncts Ralph Brueggemann, Mark Kissling, Joyce Miller and Debbie Puckett, after attending a meeting of the part-time faculty called by then Faculty Senators Greg Griffith and Eva Kreig. They presented the results of a part-time faculty survey and otherwise inspired the four to meet again and to maintain contact with Eva Kreig, who had served the maximum term in Senate and was looking for someone to take her place. Debbie Puckett took the initiative and was elected in May 2018 to represent the part-time faculty for the 2018-2020 academic years. Debbie, Joyce, Mark and Ralph met over that summer and formalized the name, logo and leadership team of the Association. Greg Griffith accepted a job outside of UC and Mark was elected in October 2018 to serve out the rest of the year of Greg's remaining term.
A LinkedIn group was created in October 2018 and this website soon followed. Membership in the LinkedIn group quickly grew and currently stands at more than 400 members. Between the two sites, the Association has informed many adjuncts of their benefits, promotional opportunities and more.
Given the role of the Faculty Senate as a direct advisory connection to the UC administration and that both part-time faculty seats were being held by Debbie and Mark, the Association decided to focus its advocacy effort primarily through the Senate, but also by promotional outreach. UC's student newspaper, The News Record, published its first article on the Association on February 17, 2019. Debbie and Mark worked with Senate Chair Cynthia Ris to resume the work that Greg and Eva had done, and the two were assigned to the Senate's Human Relations committee, chaired by Brian Metcalf. Mark was re-elected to a full, two-year term (2019-2021) in May 2019.
After working through the spring and summer, that committee, Debbie and Mark pushed for and contributed to the next step for the Faculty Senate, which was a unanimous resolution to study the needs of, and how better to support adjunct faculty, passed on September 12, 2019. The resolution called for a report and recommendations to be researched, written and submitted to the administration. (For the resolution document, see the Resources page.)
Unfortunately, Debbie was unable to enjoy passage of the resolution as a Faculty Senator or even as an adjunct faculty member in the College of Business as her department had not renewed her contract, demonstrating first hand the tenuous nature of the adjunct condition. Association member Mike Cook was elected in September 2019 to serve out the rest of the year of Debbie's remaining term.
At the same time, the Association had been planning its own event, entitled Adjunct Week, September 23-27, 2019, to call attention to the adjunct condition at UC, and to coordinate raising the profile of the issue with the Faculty Senate, the UC administration and the UC community at large. The News Record previewed Adjunct week on September 19, 2019 which involved campus events and local radio and news media. (For more details, see the Adjunct Week 2019 page.)
The Association continued to communicate to adjuncts and build its membership as work on the report and recommendations continued in the spring of 2020, with The News Record publishing another article in April 25, 2020. Mike Cook was re-elected to a full, two-year term (2020-2022) in May 2020. The Human Relations and ad hoc committees, including Mark and Mike contributed to the Senate's report and recommendations, largely through a survey designed by Mike.
As the 2020-2021 academic year began in August 2020 with COVID-19 restrictions understandably dominating the university and casting doubt over adjuncts' being assigned the usual number of sections, new Faculty Senate Chair Greg Loving completed the report that previous Chair Cynthia Ris had begun, and the report with its recommendations was submitted to the full Faculty Senate for consideration in December 2020. The News Record previewed the report on January 11, 2021 and the Senate unanimously passed the report and recommendations on January 14, 2021, a date that surely will serve as a reference point for years to come. (For the report document, see the Resources page.)
Approaching the completion of its third year, the UC Adjunct Advocacy Association stands as a recognized and respected third-party group, comprising UC adjuncts but not directly affiliated with UC, with outreach in the Faculty Senate, the UC administration, the local media and the UC community at large. The Association has been and remains a force to inform, and to effect positive change.
-- Mark Kissling